Continental Airlines releases expanded recycling results
Airline recycled enough aluminum to build 20 Boeing 777s and saved 584,300 trees

Continental Airlines has announced a major increase in the effectiveness of its recycling programs after the company put special emphasis on recycling projects in support of its commitment to the environment.

Continental said that so far in 2009, it has collected more than 4 million pounds of mixed recyclables from terminal operations at its Houston Bush Intercontinental, New York/Newark Liberty and Cleveland Hopkins hubs – an 800 percent year-over-year increase. Mixed recyclables include newspapers, cans, and plastic bottles contributed by co-workers and customers via designated “EcoSkies” recycling bins in hub airport terminals.

“While Continental has had a robust recycling program for more than a decade, we have made substantial enhancements to the program throughout 2008 and 2009, increasing recycling onboard our aircraft, at our airport terminals and at other supporting facilities, like our food service kitchens,” said Leah Raney, Continental’s managing director of global environmental affairs. “We have had strong encouragement and support from our co-workers and customers, and we are excited to see such great results from our expanded recycling program.”

In 2008, Continental’s expanded inflight and flight kitchen recycling efforts resulted in the recovery of more than 462 tons of plastic and aluminum, and more than 1,300 tons of cardboard. So far in 2009, Continental has more than doubled that amount, recovering more than 1,500 tons of plastic and aluminum, and more than 30,000 tons of cardboard.

Continental also works with contract caterers at the non-hub airports it serves to encourage recycling; now, more than 91 percent of Continental’s domestic caterers and more than 87 percent of its international caterers recycle.

Due to Continental’s focus on increasing its recycling efforts in 2009 alone, Continental has:

  • Recycled enough aluminum to build 20 Boeing 777 airplanes;
  • Saved more than 584,300 trees;
  • Saved enough water to meet the monthly freshwater needs of 106,900 homes;
  • Saved enough energy to heat and cool more than 49,600 homes;
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 35,208 metric tons; and
  • Reduced carbon footprint to landfills by saving 116,900 cubic yards of waste.

Proceeds from Continental’s recycling program are re-invested in the program or donated to We Care, a nonprofit charity organization that provides financial assistance to Continental employees in need.