National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airport Waste Management and Recycling Practices (2018)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Airport Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25254.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Airport Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25254.
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Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Airport Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25254.
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Page 5

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3 Background As airports strive to achieve greater levels of environmental, social, and financial sustainability, the generation of waste materials represents tangible opportunities for improvement in all three areas. The generation and disposal of waste, coupled with the demand to manufacture new items to replace those that have been discarded, have the potential to affect air quality, water quality, and other environmental resources; affect neighboring communities; and require signifi- cant financial resources. Sustainable waste management has the potential to lessen these impacts. Planning and implementing programs for waste reduction, reuse, donation, recycling, com- posting, and energy generation are important aspects of ongoing waste management activities at airports. These activities affect landfill disposal quantities, associated costs, and the environ- ment. Waste management also involves the oversight of these programs and the collection and transport of waste materials. Each waste management strategy has its own set of requirements and challenges, necessitating varied airport waste management programs. While interest in best practices that airports use to manage and divert waste is widespread, many airports first encounter the requirements as they develop master plans. The FAA Modern- ization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA, Pub. L. No. 112-95) expanded the definition of airport planning to include “developing a plan for recycling and minimizing the generation of airport solid waste.” Within FMRA, a provision requires airports to plan for solid waste recycling when preparing a master plan. According to information provided by airports to the FAA in 2013 (FAA, 2013), 32 of the country’s 35 medium-hub commercial service airports and all 29 large- hub commercial service airports had some level of recycling for municipal solid waste (MSW) (see Figure 1). Eighteen of these airports also had some form of a composting program. At that time, airports reported that challenges to recycling included availability of local programs and an insufficient number of waste and recycling containers in place at their facilities. Airports seek actionable information to overcome challenges and improve their waste management programs and to use staff and other resources efficiently. Airlines, tenants, concessionaires, and other key stakeholders also play important roles. These stakeholders need to understand the alternatives and issues involved to support the airport’s programs and to achieve their own related goals. Scope of Study The objective of this synthesis is to summarize current practices, strategies, and methods as well as universal objectives for airport waste management and diversion. This information was collected through a literature review and airport surveys and interviews. C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

4 Airport Waste Management and Recycling Practices The scope of this synthesis is focused on the management of MSW, defined in the following list: • Everyday items that are used and discarded • Items that can be legally disposed of in a sanitary landfill • Organic, compostable material, such as food and yard/green wastes • Deplaned waste (except from international flights) • Recyclable items (for example, aluminum, steel, glass, plastics, paper, and cardboard) This synthesis is not intended to address construction and demolition debris or hazardous, universal, or industrial waste. The scope also excludes waste from international flights regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Report Organization Chapter 2 outlines the approach to collecting information about the state of airport waste management practices, specifically identifying the reviewed literature resources and information collected. Chapter 2 also describes the airport survey and the method used to identify and interview case example airports. The third chapter describes overarching drivers for and challenges to airport waste management practices, especially why various waste streams are being addressed. Chapter 3 provides context for the strategies discussed in Chapter 4. Chapter 4 describes the current state of various airport waste practices based on information collected from the survey and interviews. The chapter details several standard strategies and the supporting infrastructure in place, as well as innovative approaches discovered during this effort. The fifth chapter explains the calculations and metrics airports use to measure waste manage- ment, including any variations. Chapter 5 also describes additional data and studies airports can use to guide data-based decision making. Figure 1. 2013 airport recycling and composting practices (FAA, 2013).

Introduction 5 The sixth chapter features 21 case examples, describing the drivers, challenges, practices, and metrics at each of those airports. Chapter 7 assesses the collected information and highlights typical practices and those found to be effective by referenced authors or sample airports. Chapter 7 also describes the remaining knowledge gaps and suggests efforts to close them, and is followed by references and definitions. The appendices can be found at http://www.trb.org/acrp/acrpsynthesis92.aspx.

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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 92: Airport Waste Management and Recycling Practices focuses on airport waste management and recycling practices that reduce impacts and costs to airports and their surrounding communities. The information in this study was acquired through a literature review, survey results from 35 organizations representing 36 airports from a range of geographic locations and airport classifications, and interviews of a subset of 21 airport waste management experts. The results of the literature review and survey are presented in this short report. Supporting Materials, Case Examples, and Toolkits for ACRP Synthesis 92 includes survey results, case examples representing in-depth interviews on specific airport waste management and recycling practices, and toolkits of existing effective practices to assist airports in implementing their waste management and recycling programs.

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