From: Associated Press
Published December 14, 2006 12:00 AM

Study Shows Airline Industry Could Save Thousands of Dollars by Recycling

WASHINGTON -- The airline industry wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by discarding 4,250 tons of aluminum cans and other items that could be recycled, a new report says.

The two-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council examined recycling efforts at 30 U.S. airports. The report found that the industry threw out 9,000 tons of plastic and enough newspapers and magazines to fill a football field to a depth of more than 230 feet.

"Airlines in the U.S. throw away enough aluminum cans every year to build 58 new 747s," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at NRDC. "Along with a huge amount of recyclable waste, the industry is throwing away a significant amount of money."

Other findings:

- Airports put out about 1.28 pounds of waste per passenger in 2004, about one-third of the total amount Americans generate in an entire day.

- Recycling 70 percent of the aluminum cans currently discarded would save the amount of energy used by 5,000 U.S. households in a year.

- Aluminum accounts for 1 percent of the air travel industry's waste stream. But the energy benefits of recycling one ton of the substance are 11 times that of recycling one ton of newspaper and eight times that of recycling the same amount of plastic.

The report called for better recycling programs. It cited cost savings of more than $100,000 a year at airports in Seattle-Tacoma and Baltimore, whose programs include sending used coffee grounds to a compost facility instead of the dump.

Source: Associated Press

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