Recycling is a critical aspect of ongoing efforts by airports, airlines, and flight kitchens to reduce the cost of commercial solid waste disposal and improve environmental stewardship. As the industry (e.g., airports, airlines, and flight kitchens) continues to implement and expand recycling programs, it is more important to improve compatibility and create synergy between various recycling programs. Implementing efficient and cost-effective materials recycling within the industry presents many challenges. Collecting, separating, and storing materials onboard aircraft during flight for removal and recycling on the ground pose logistical challenges. Likewise, airport and flight kitchen recycling programs are complicated by state and local requirements, local recycling capabilities, infrastructure, waste-hauling contracts, and airside safety concerns. As a result, airport recycling programs across the country differ significantly. Research is needed to provide guidance so that recycling programs are compatible and allow for cost savings to all participants.
The objectives of this research are to develop a guidebook of recycling strategies, including a set of fact sheets targeted to specific airport-industry recycling practitioners, and disseminate fact sheets to the intended target. The guidebook and fact sheets should (1) describe procedures for recycling airport, airline, and flight kitchen waste; (2) recommend action plans to improve recycling and reduce waste disposal costs for airports of varying sizes and characteristics; and (3) identify existing program gaps and how components of the industry could work together to bridge those gaps.