Airline Waste-to-energy: New Facility Opens at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport in the U.K. and DHL Supply Chain in March opened a new waste management plant, which Gatwick said is the first facility at an airport to turn airport waste into energy onsite.

The new £3.8-million (US$4.7 million) plant not only disposes of Category 1 waste onsite, but converts it and other organic waste into energy to heat Gatwick’s waste management site and power the site’s water recovery system. Gatwick said that the plant will save £1,000 in energy and waste management costs for every day it operates.

According to Gatwick, Category 1 forms the majority of waste from non-EU flights and is defined as food waste or anything mixed with it, such as packaging, cups and meal trays from international transport vehicles.

“Disposing of Category 1 waste can be very costly and time-consuming, but our new waste management and recycling system is a huge step forward,” Martin Willmor, senior vice president, specialist services, UK, DHL Supply Chain, said in a statement. “Gatwick is leading the way in converting waste onsite into an energy source, and we’re already investigating a number of further initiatives to support sustainable energy production and the future expansion of the airport.”

The plant will process around 10 metric tons of waste per day.

Gatwick said that the plant was designed with the capacity to produce additional energy that could be used to power other areas of the airport in the future.

Lead image credit: LWYang | Flickr

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