Gatwick first airport to win ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ accreditation
Gatwick has become the first airport to achieve a ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ accreditation from the Carbon Trust, after taking active steps to divert its non-hazardous waste streams from landfill.
Gatwick – the UK’s second largest airport, serving 228 destinations in 74 countries – has redirected its waste streams from landfill by reducing initial waste and finding ways to reuse materials, as well as substantially increasing recycling, claiming to send all empty coffee cups and plastic bottles for specialist processing. Heathrow airport has also pledged to recycle all coffee cups sold on its premises by the end of 2018 as part of a growing nationwide backlash against the single-use product.
In 2017, 96 per cent of construction waste produced by Gatwick was diverted from landfill, while 58 per cent of operational and commercial waste was reused or recycled. A proportion of the remainder is being sent to incineration, after the airport built the world’s first in-airport energy-from-waste plant, able to convert aircraft cabin waste into energy on site. The £3.8-million plant, located in the airport’s north terminal, primarily treats food waste and items mixed with it, such as packaging, cups and meal trays. Before its launch in March 2017 all this waste was processed off-site, but the plant now uses the converted energy the airport’s waste management site and power its water recovery system.
Gatwick’s zero waste to landfill claim was verified through the Carbon Trust Standard, which provides a strict framework for certification. The announcement of the award comes as Gatwick has also been recertified a Carbon Neutral airport in its ground operations, using 100% renewable electricity. Additionally, the airport has retained accreditations secured in 2016 for achieving ongoing reductions in carbon emissions, water use, and improving waste management. Key innovations include installing 100 per cent LED lights on the runways to improve energy efficiency and saving one million litres of water in the airport valet parking car wash last year.
Gatwick’s Decade of Change
The airport has also published its annual Decade of Change report, which monitors progress from 2010 to 2020 against 10 environmental and community-focused targets. Some of its more significant achievements last year include a 10 per cent reduction in annual carbon emissions from fuel and energy, a five per cent drop in annual energy consumption per passenger, and an increased focus on locality: 56 per cent of employees are from the local area, and £132.8 million was spent with local suppliers.
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport, commented: “As an airport we recognise the importance of a sustainable operation, which is why exceeding our ambitious environmental and community-focused targets has been a priority for us ever since new ownership in 2009.
“I would like to thank every member of staff and our wider Gatwick Family who have all helped us to achieve both our targets and also secure four Carbon Trust standards and carbon neutral status.”
Hugh Jones, managing director of Carbon Trust Business Services, added: “Over the past two years Gatwick has made impressive progress on environmental performance to retain triple certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for continuing to reduce carbon emissions, water use and waste output.
“We are also delighted to be able to recognise its achievement of zero waste to landfill status for the first time. Gatwick is setting an excellent example, showing how a business can improve its operational efficiency and its environmental results at the same time, as well as encouraging higher levels of action elsewhere by positively influencing other companies that operate at the airport site.”
The 2017 Decade of Change report can be read in full on the Gatwick Airport website.