Detroit Metro Airport and Delta expand recycling

Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) and Delta Air Lines have introduced a new public recycling program at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). Nearly 70,000 travelers who pass through DTW’s McNamara Terminal each day will find that the airport’s trash receptacles have been augmented by divided waste bins to collect recyclable plastic bottles, metal cans and paper separate from other trash.

“The new collection, sorting and recycling effort expands a similar program launched at the North Terminal when it opened in 2008 and will now allow all DTW travelers to participate in this important environmental effort,” said WCAA interim CEO Genelle Allen.

The Airport Authority and Delta have placed 19 of the new, divided bins in locations throughout McNamara Terminal concourses A, B and C. Upon collection by airport maintenance staff, the recyclable contents of the new bins will be taken to one of four dedicated recycling dumpsters placed below the terminal, and then on to a local recycling center. Additional recycling bins may be added based upon customer participation. For now, the terminal’s existing trash receptacles will also remain in place.

Nearly 7,080 tons of trash were removed from the McNamara Terminal in 2009. How much of that waste could have been recycled is not known, but the Airport Authority and Delta encourage travelers to help maximize the amount of recyclable material by appropriately disposing of plastic bottles, metal cans and paper into one of the new recycling bins.

Both WCAA and Delta have been industry leaders in recycling. For 9 of the past 10 years, DTW has recycled more aircraft de-icing fluid than any other airport worldwide. More than 36,000 lbs. of paper are recycled from airport Authority offices each year and WCAA has led an initiative to use cooking grease from concessions as biofuel to power airport service vehicles.

In the air, Delta launched the industry’s first comprehensive in-flight recycling program for waste collected on domestic flights into its Atlanta hub in 2007 – a program that has since expanded to include 24 domestic routes with additions planned for this year.