Research Projects

Organic Waste Recycling

The goals of this research project are to 1) prepare a roadmap of sustainable organic waste management

solutions, ideally according with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) introduced Waste

Hierarchy, 2) find the best available practices of food and biobased waste reduction, reuse and disposal,

3) pilot those immediate options available, 4) research considerations for the development of on-site

biowaste disposal facilities at airports that could also serve the surrounding communities, and 5) design a

communication plan to have employees, tenants and customers onboard on the process of change to meet

the ultimate target of zero food waste.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

As recycling and waste disposal to landfills are a hot topic all around the world, alternative solutions must
be obtained. For many airports there are limited options of industrial scale disposal services for food and
compostables, and the scalability of existing services can be challenging. This research is required to
support decision making for setting short- and long-term goals regarding biobased waste reduction, to
support emerging infrastructure around such services and to design the best ways to reach out to the
important stakeholders.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)
  1. Conduct literature review of waste management and zero waste practices from the airport industry
    and other related industries from the U.S. and globally.
  2. Identify existing services, their feasibility and potential to scale up if necessary.
  3. Identify alternative solutions that might not yet exist or scale up to the full current needs and
    research their potential as a solution.
  4. Pilot most prominent services that already exist and are ready to develop if required for full scale
  5. Work with involved stakeholders to meet the targets set for pilot-programs.
  6. Developing education programs to employees, partners and customers to support reaching the
  7. Based on results of steps 1-6, develop roadmap to zero waste airports, which could include on-site
    composting and biodigester facilities.
Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

Budget estimation of $400.000 and schedule estimation of 16-18 months for gathering information from
many airports and other industries, a pilot implementation study of different options and conducting a
guidebook that all airports can utilize on their efforts to become zero waste.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

ACI Europe Sustainability Strategy for Airports
ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee Waste Management Working Group
ACRP Synthesis report 92: Airport Waste Management and Recycling Practices
FAA Guidance Memorandum to Airport Waste Management
FAA Recycling, reuse and waste reduction at airports Synthesis Document
ICAO Waste Management at Airports Toolkit
SAGA Sustainable Aviation Resource Guide
SFO, Zero Waste



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Idea No. 272