Inside Gatwick's 'world-first' waste management plant
Gatwick's newly opened £3.8m waste processing plant takes the airport to brave new heights for sustainable aviation. Join edie on the ground for an exclusive behind-the-scenes video tour of this state-of-the-art facility, and read the full case study to find out how it works.
The global airline industry currently generates around 4.5 million tonnes of high-risk 'Category 1' cabin waste every year, with a disposal cost of more than £400m.
Gatwick’s brand new waste management plant, delivered in partnership with DHL Supply Chain, not only allows the airport to process Category 1 waste safely on-site, it can also convert it – along with all other organic waste from the airport – into energy to power itself and, eventually, provide heat for the nearby North Terminal.
In this video, Gatwick and DHL take edie on a tour of the new site, providing us with a first-hand experience of how the plant will boost the airport's recycling rate from 52% in 2016 to around 85% by 2020.
Video: Inside Gatwick's 'world-first' waste management plant
A sortation conveyor belt sees DHL Supply Chain workers filter through the waste. The conveyor belt goes in two directions: anything that can be recycled – such as plastic, paper and cardboard – is re-baled and taken off-site to be turned into new products; and anything that cannot be recycled – such as un-recoverable wet food waste and organic food packaging – is sent to an adjacent dryer and a 1MW biomass boiler, where it is converted into energy.
Now processing 10.5 tonnes of Category 1 waste every day, the new site has already led to 50% fewer lorry journeys required to external waste plants, while a water recovery system in the waste drying process will save as much as two million litres of water a year.
In the video, edie meets DHL Supply Chain's senior vice-president of specialist services Martin Willmor, who shows us exactly how the waste management process works. We then sit down with Gatwick Airport's sustainability manager Rachel Thompson, who explains how this new project supports the group's bold ambition to become the most sustainable airport in the world.
Luke Nicholls & Matt Mace