Thursday, September 6, 2007

Airport Recycling: Flying from One Extreme to the Other

The Green Miles is in Palo Alto, CA this week for the Society of Environmental Journalists conference, where my employer, the National Wildlife Federation, is a sponsor. Ironically enough, the conference is on the campus of Stanford University, which rejected The Green Miles as a potential student (gulp) 12 years ago. Fortunately Syracuse University welcomed The Green Miles as an Orangeman and the rest is history.

I took Metro to West Falls Church this morning, then hopped on the Washington Flyer bus to Dulles Airport. I was reading the Washington Post on the bus, then looked to recycle part of it when I got to Dulles. Unfortunately, when I got there I learned the waste management at Dulles amounted to a trash can. That's the best they can do?

Considering I'd already brought my reusable coffee mug along for the cross-country trip, I was willing to carry my newspapers until I could find a recycling bin. Sure enough, at San Francisco Airport I found a recycling bin labeled "CONTENTS RECYCLED OFF SITE." That basically means instead of relying on us unreliable chuckleheads to drop recyclables in their correct containers, they pay their waste hauler to sort out the trash from the recyclable materials.

Oh, and I just realized I have a photo of a recycling breakthrough at Reagan National Airport. Until recently, National didn't have any recycling at all, but as I was flying out in August, I noticed these new cardboard bins.

In the DC area, the far-and-away leader in recycling is BWI Airport. Check out more details here.

Want to know how to set up a recycling program at the airport in your community? Check out the
EPA's website!
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