U.S. Airlines Not Recycling?

According to Reuters: “U.S. airlines and airports send more of their trash to the dump than the country as a whole, losing the chance to save emissions through recycling, according to an environmental group’s report.”

The 30 largest airports generated as much trash as the city of Miami during the same period of time. “These are resources that don’t need to be mined, logged or drilled,” said the report’s author Allen Hershkowitz, a scientist at the NRDC. “And by avoiding all that, you save a lot of energy and avoid a lot of emissions.”

He said the aluminum wasted by the industry every year is enough to build 58 commercial jumbo jet airplanes. Hey, that’s a lot of lukewarm in-flight Pepsis. By the way, we said, “Coke.” It’s not the same thing! Rarr! —MEGHANN MARCO

U.S. airline industry lags nation on recycling [Reuters]


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  1. somnambulist says:

    … China Eastern 737. BTW they do have complimentary ice in coach, even on Ted.

  2. pestie says:

    I’m a pretty left-leaning, environmentally-conscious kind of guy, but I’m really inclined to think that most recycling, at least as generally implemented, are feel-good measures that do little or nothing to actually help the environment. The “we’re running out of landfill space” argument is total crap, and a huge percentage of what’s dropped in “recycling” bins ends up in landfills anyway. What we really need is actual energy conservation and far less stupid packaging, but good luck getting people to accept minor inconvenience for the sake of doing the right thing. Look at the discussion about compact fluroescent bulbs we had a couple weeks back.

  3. Kornkob says:

    And let’s face it— the common form of ‘recycling’ is just pre-sorting potentially recyclable materials. While some ends up sold on the open market, much of it is tossed— especially now that prices of much of those materials has dropped as more municipalities pass ‘recycling’ ordinances.

    Where’s the study on hotel garbage? I’d be willing to bet that hotels throw a great deal more out that airlines. Or how about movies? How many pounds of latex alone do they dump?

  4. TJMad says:

    While the recycling of things like paper and glass is indeed a ‘feel-good’ measure, since it actually consumes more energy than it saves, recycling aluminum is a no-brainer. Manufacturing aluminum from ore is difficult and energy intensive, while recycling it is fairly simple. It is certainly surprising that airlines wouldn’t recycle aluminum, given it’s cost-effectiveness and most airlines’ struggles for profitability.

  5. Sudonum says:

    As someone who used to run a hotel engineering department, I can assure you that recycling is taken seriously. Hotels run on a very thin margin anything that can put a few bucks back into our pockets is welcome. Some examples, those little bars of soap that you leave in the shower after one use, into a 55 gallon drum and recycled. Cardboard, broken down and recycled. Grease from the kitchen, collected, picked up every month and either sold as bio-diesel or recycled (I especially didn’t want that stuff going down the drain as then I had a HUGE bill from Roto-Rooter). I believe they use it to make those little soap bars! Glass bottles from the bars are sorted by COLOR and recycled. Plastic, you bet. What a lot of people fail to realize is that trash hauling is costly, anything you keep out of the compactor/dumpster is also saving you money. Also this was at a very large 1500 room hotel, smaller places don’t have as much incentive to keep things out of their trash.