Diversion rate to benefit from airport recycling
Thirteen million people pass through the Port Columbus (Ohio) International Airport annually, leaving tons of trash in their wake. Until recently, that trash went to the Franklin County Landfill; but, in December, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) and the Columbus Airport Authority introduced a voluntary recycling program that could divert as much as 225 tons of waste per year.
The program is one of many designed by SWACO to initiate recycling in high-traffic areas throughout Franklin County. “Our goal is to reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill by [diverting 25 percent of the material from the waste stream],” says Michael Long, executive director for SWACO. “We believe [the Port Columbus] program will be a major step toward reaching that goal.”
Prior to developing the Port Columbus program, SWACO and the Columbus Airport Authority worked with Cambridge, Mass.-based Camp Dresser & McKee to characterize waste stream content, volume and handling at the airport. The consultant recommended a recycling program that targeted cardboard, newspaper, magazines, mixed office paper and empty beverage containers. Port Columbus generates approximately one ton of those wastes daily.
The recycling program is terminal-wide and entirely voluntary, calling for participation of restaurants, retailers and airlines. The Columbus Airport Authority has placed recycling containers throughout public facilities and administrative offices to allow for separation of targeted materials. Additionally, it has posted photographs, universal icons and multi-lingual signs to encourage travelers to recycle.
The Port Columbus recycling program cost SWACO $120,000 to study and implement. (The study was funded in part by a $20,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention. SWACO paid for the balance of the study, as well as for containers, signage and technical assistance, using generation fees from countywide recycling operations.) The program eventually will be expanded to include airport facilities outside the terminal building.