As more airports take up environmental initiatives, they contribute to the larger causes of waste reduction and protection of the natural world. Many of the largest and busiest air hubs are leading the way for smaller facilities to follow and to employ similar strategies.
Here are examples of environment-related activities at four of the world's busiest airports.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has held the top spot as the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic since 1998. The volume of daily waste generated there is huge - much of it from leftover food.
According to Atlanta’s WABE 90.1 FM (NPR) radio, ‘EcoDistricts’ is a non-profit group that generates new partnerships between major organizations and their corresponding communities - and Hartsfield-Jackson is now working towards their ‘EcoDistricts’ certification.
The airport is collaborating with its concession vendors to develop an effective system to collect unused still-edible foods. The plan is to take these provisions and distribute them to local homeless shelters and similar charity programs.
In the state of North Carolina, the Charles Douglas International Airport has adopted a natural though less conventional approach for dealing with daily waste.
Go Green, a sustainability business consulting organization, reports on the airport's ‘vermiposting’ project. In this scheme, live earthworms are added to certain trash items like food, paper and plant trimmings. As the worms eat their way through the organic material, their excretions are collected and used to fertilize the airport’s green areas.
European airports are also doing their part to preserve the environment. Finland’s Helsinki Airport, for instance, is building the largest airport solar power plant in the continent’s Nordic region. The International Airport Review reports that beginning in late summer 2017 the new plant will be operational and it will contribute around 10% of the power to run the new terminal extensions. Additionally, airport shuttles run on biodiesel derived from waste. As a result, Helsinki Airport has achieved full carbon-neutral status, the 34th airport in the world to do so.
This is also the case in the UK, specifically at Gatwick Airport, which recently attained a Level 3+ carbon-neutral status. But more than reducing emissions from internally operated vehicles, Europe’s second-busiest airport is on a mission to extend the practice to passengers through providing solutions on the use of private vehicles.
For example, the air hub carefully planned the placement of its parking areas to facilitate easier access for travelers who bring their own cars to Gatwick. According to Parking4Less it is only a few minutes' walk to either of the terminals from the airport's Short Stay Car Park. This means fewer travelers need to rely on buses driven between distant fields and the terminals, and fewer bus shuttle trips equals less carbon emissions.
New initiatives like these at leading airports show that transportation businesses can do their part in support of Mother Nature.
What great environmental programs are happening in your city? Share your stories in the comments section below.
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