Airports and passengers are working together to end plastic waste

Posted in: Aviation, Environmental


Denver Airport gave away pencils that visitors could later plant to grow Columbine flowers. #EarthDay
Denver Airport gave away pencils that visitors could later plant to grow Columbine flowers. #EarthDay

Earth Day, a global event held annually on April 22, is dedicated to raising awareness and acting for environmental causes. The Earth Day Network’s 2018 campaign is titled “End Plastic Pollution.” The Earth Day Network’s website has lots of great information, such as the effects of plastic pollution and how you can create an Act of Green.

Airports around the country are committed to reducing waste – including plastic – and will be hosting Earth Day events this weekend.

Examples of ways that some airports are addressing plastic waste include:

  • Positioning liquid collection stations in security queuing areas where passengers empty water bottles before screening to reuse post-security or recycle
  • Installing bottle refill stations post-security where passengers refill reusable or disposable water bottles with filtered water
  • Providing recycling containers for plastics and other waste materials
  • Encouraging terminal concessionaires to offer “real” dishes and silverware
  • Coordinating with terminal tenants to replace plastic silverware with compostable alternatives
  • Establishing environmentally preferred purchasing policies that prioritize durable, recycled content and recyclable supplies
  • Utilizing bulk and concentrated cleaning products to reduce packaging
  • Providing reusable dishes, tumblers and mugs to employees
  • Collecting unwanted toiletries, luggage and other items for donation
  • Hosting or sponsoring litter clean-up events

Airport passengers can help end plastic waste with simple acts like using reusable water bottle and declining straws. You might consider saying “no thank you” to plastic bags and other disposables from airport restaurants and shops. And you could participate in an airport Earth Day celebration or events.

Airports are taking to social media to share their events and programs in support of #EarthDay. Here are a few of my favorites.

Delaware North announced a commitment to reduce plastic waste by scaling back its use of straws at 200+s dining locations at 23 airports and travel hubs across the United States

Memphis International Airport – In celebration of #EarthDay this week, @flymemphis and our partner, Sunrise Recycling Services, is hosting a FREE electronic waste recycling drive on Friday, April 20th

Denver International Airport – Stop by an @DENAirport information booth today for a free pencil that you can later plant to make Columbine flowers! #EarthDay

Orlando International Airport – @MCO is the 1st US airport to adopt standardized recycling/refuse labels to increase waste diversion & help people recycle right. #EarthDay

Delaware North, a major airport concessionaire, is celebrating Earth Day with a special commitment: @delawarenorth has announced a commitment to reduce plastic waste by scaling back its use of straws at the company’s 200+ dining locations at 23 airports and travel hubs across the United States #EarthDay #thelaststraw

Plastic pollution is getting increased attention. Avoiding plastic and other waste at the source, reusing plastic items, and removing plastic pollution from nature will help solve this environmental problem.

Together, airports and passengers can help and celebrate our beautiful earth.


Morgan Turner, EIT

About the Author

Morgan Turner, EIT, is passionate and knowledgeable about the four R’s of resource management – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Re-Buy. Morgan’s infectious interest in moving materials up the waste management hierarchy drives her to design small tweaks and larger initiatives that public or private facilities can implement to reduce waste generation and increase landfill diversion.

Read more posts by Morgan Turner, EIT

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