London Gatwick Airport is set to become the first airport in the world to dispose of Category 1 waste on-site and convert it into energy, which will then be used to heat the North Terminal.
Category 1 forms the majority of waste from non-EU flights and is defined as food waste or anything mixed with it, including packaging, cups and meal trays. Its disposal is governed by strict rules that require specialist processing to protect against the potential spread of disease and infectious material.
However, from November 2016, London Gatwick’s new £3.8m (US$5m) processing plant will not only dispose of Category 1 waste safely on-site, it will also convert it – and all other organic waste – into energy to power the new plant and heat the North Terminal.
The plant also includes a waste sorting center to maximize the amount of rubbish recycled in-house – a move that will boost the airport’s recycling rate to around 85% by 2020 – higher than any UK airport and an increase on the 49% experienced today. The new processing plant was developed in partnership with logistics provider DHL Supply Chain, which currently manages inbound deliveries at Gatwick through its logistics and consolidation facility.
Stewart Wingate, CEO, London Gatwick, said, “Handling waste is a challenge for all airports, but Gatwick’s new world-beating facility converts a waste problem into a green energy source.
“We expect others to follow Gatwick’s lead as we realize our ambition to become the UK’s most sustainable airport. Already we are one of only a handful of organizations in the country to achieve a triple series of Carbon Trust Standard awards, and more important environmental initiatives will follow soon.”
Paul Richardson, managing director, Specialist Services at DHL Supply Chain UK and Ireland, said, “We have worked closely with Gatwick Airport over the past decade and are delighted to build our relationship further by implementing an innovative waste management and recycling system. This will not only improve efficiency but will help accelerate the airport’s progress, enabling it to meet its 2020 sustainability targets three years early.
“We will work closely with Gatwick Airport to integrate new technologies such as our Biomass Waste to Energy System into the supply chain, enhancing energy production and ensuring a sustainable platform to support future expansion for the airport.”