London Stansted has become the first major UK airport to offer fully compostable bags for passengers carrying liquids in their hand luggage.
The airport has worked closely with the UK’s Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority to approve the trial of the compostable bags. If successful, the new product could replace the 11 million non-compostable plastic bags which are currently handed out in the terminal every year.
The trial is the result of ideas put forward by airport security colleagues Daniel Bryan, Carol Morgan and Edita Andrews, who suggested considering more sustainable options for security bags and encouraging passengers to only take as many bags as they needed for their journey.
London Stansted staff will be distributing 50,000 compostable bags to passengers during one of the busiest weeks of the year as the Christmas getaway begins. The airport will also use the trial to seek passengers’ feedback on the bags and also on their wider attitudes to traveling sustainably through the airport. Passengers who prefer to use the existing bags will be reminded to re-use them as many times as possible.
The trial is the latest in a program of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ initiatives that Stansted has introduced to cut down on waste and support its successful zero to landfill policy. This includes donating over 15 tonnes of items surrendered by passengers at security to local food banks, giving out 1,500 free reusable bottles and 3,500 hot drinks cups, and increasing the number of water refill stations throughout the terminal. The airport also recently announced a partnership with Cambridgeshire-based Bio-Bean to convert the 150 tonnes of coffee grounds produced each year to solid biofuels.
London Stansted’s environment manager, Martin Churley, said, “We’re always on the lookout for new ways to cut down on waste, and trialling new compostable bags is just another example of how we are leading the way in tackling some of the local environmental impacts which come with running this small town that we oversee here at London Stansted.”
The bags are produced by PMC Polythene, which is based in Buntingford, Hertfordshire, and specializes in the manufacture of recyclable polythene products from recycled UK-sourced waste.