Basic approaches to the waste management at UK airports

After a significant dip in business due to COVID-19, the global air transport sector has picked up the pace. As of today, there are plenty of people travelling within the country and abroad. Being a wanderlust is back in vogue, and it is a win-win situation for end customers and airlines!

However, a side effect of increased travel is that airports generate massive waste and are back to looking at practical and cost effective ways to manage it. This is not surprising at all! Similar to cities, airports have thousands of employees and millions of annual visitors who use the premises.

In addition to the waste generated at the airport, tonnes of rubbish are transported by aircraft across the globe. No wonder airports are fast introducing sustainable waste management policies and procedures to reduce the environmental effect of waste and to meet regulatory requirements.

There are basic approaches to waste management, especially when it comes to food. An efficient waste management system implements strategies to minimise waste production, and any remaining waste is sorted and processed onsite.

This system also involves collecting and properly disposing of different types of waste and incorporates feedback loops and flexibility to improve and adapt continuously. The goal is to redirect waste from disposal and find ways to reuse or recycle materials.

Types of waste generated at airports

Due to the different businesses that operate in most airports, many different kinds of rubbish end up on the ground, such as:

  • Food waste generated from retailers, coffee shops, and dining areas
  • Dry recycling waste produced from recyclable food and beverage packaging
  • Construction waste generated due to renovation, building, and land-clearing activities
  • Hazardous waste produced due to waste oil from aircraft and other cleaning materials
  • Green waste originating from trimming plants and shrubs at airports
  • Sanitary waste generated at airport toilets

Airport shop and retail waste management

Airport authorities and retail franchisees are responsible for waste generated on the ground and in the air. This includes anything from clothing stores and bookstores to bars and eateries.

Getting the right kind, quantity, and size of commercial waste bins is one of the various waste management approaches and the first step towards proper waste management at airports.

It makes it easy for stores at the airport to sort and store waste, like food leftovers, beverage bottles, recyclable glass, and packaging material. This way, waste can be collected ethically, and the money spent on landfill taxes is reduced.

Airport food waste management practices

A significant portion of food service operations at the airport produce food waste, which can be costly for their bottom line. Additionally, the generation of fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) can clog pipes and emit unpleasant odours, resulting in multiple issues.

Airports must, therefore, follow food waste management techniques which include stock management, minimising food leftovers, sorting waste at the source and recycling it on airport grounds. Additionally, they must encourage the use of eco-friendly and sustainable products and prioritise airport food waste management practices.

Airport waste collection and removal

Keeping rubbish away from public areas is vital at airports. No one likes to wait to board their flight in the dirt! Rubbish can be managed easily by segregating waste generated at airports in separate bins and regularly emptying them.

For instance, there can be bins for general and nonrecyclable waste, food waste, hazardous and non-hazardous waste, and so on. Procedures can be put in place to swiftly remove rubbish from these smaller bins to larger bins and skips which are kept away from public areas.

The rubbish can then be taken away by licensed waste removal companies and food waste can be used to generate energy or processed into fertiliser. This way, airports can maintain cleanliness all the time.

In a nutshell

Our onsite Aerobic and Anaerobic Digesters can transform food waste into energy, dependent upon the volumes created, an important consideration in these days of rising energy costs.

Appropriate airport recycling bins are essential to ensuring that the waste produced at airports is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

Waste2ES also provides a range of smart lifting solutions from Simpro to enable hassle-free and efficient waste management at airports and across several establishments. Take a step towards a greener tomorrow. Contact us to learn how we can help you with airport waste management.

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