San Diego International Airport, California, has won an international award for three innovative programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, offsetting carbon emissions and diverting food waste from landfills.
The Airports Going Green Award was presented by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and recognized San Diego Airport for its TNC Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program; The Good Traveler carbon offsetting initiative; and its Food Recovery Program.
TNC Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program: This novel program reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transportation network companies (otherwise known as rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft) operating at the airport. It offers incentives for these companies to reduce emissions by using more fuel-efficient vehicles such as hybrids, the use of alternative fuels, and trip reduction (carpool and re-match). Each company that meets the established target for emissions reductions receives a discount on the fee they pay for each airport trip. This has resulted in emissions reductions of up to 30% by some participating companies.
The Good Traveler: Launched in 2015, this non-profit collaboration of airports allows air travelers to purchase carbon offsets that help balance out the environmental impact of their flight. Each US$2 purchase offsets 1,000 miles of air travel, with the proceeds going toward projects such as wind farms, wetlands restoration and forestation that help keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Since inception, The Good Traveler program has offset the impact of 135 million miles of air travel.
Food Recovery Program: This program diverts food waste from the landfill and donates edible food to those in need. This is accomplished through an airport-wide composting effort that collected more than 365 tons of food waste in 2017. Additionally, more than 54,000 lb (24,000kg) of food were donated to worthy causes, equaling more than 4,000 meals.
Dennis Probst, vice president of development, San Diego Airport, said, “The airport is located shoulder-to-shoulder with three of San Diego’s oldest residential neighborhoods and also San Diego Bay, so we take our responsibility as an environmental steward and committed regional partner very seriously. We could not be prouder that our efforts have been recognized with this prestigious award.”