Gatwick Airport and DHL Supply Chain has now opened a new waste management plant, making the former the first airport in the world to turn waste into energy on-site.
DHL’s £3.8 million facility not only disposes of Category 1 (defined as food and food packaging) waste safely on-site, but converts it and other organic waste into energy – in the form of dry-powdered organic material used as fuel – to heat Gatwick’s waste management site and power its water recovery system. The plant is expected to save £1,000 in energy and waste management costs a day.
Currently, Gatwick treats 2,200 tons of Category 1 waste a year – just 20 percent of the total generated – but the new plant will process 10 tons a day. The goal is to take Gatwick’s recycling rate from the 49 percent it is currently to 85 percent by 2020, and having the recycling facility on-site ensures waste transportation is as efficient as it can be, alongside reducing emissions.
Gatwick’s CEO, Stewart Wingate, said: “On our journey to become one of the greenest airports in the world, our new world-beating waste plant turns a difficult waste problem into a sustainable energy source. We’re confident it sets the benchmark for others to follow in waste management.
“Our ambitious plans to develop in the most environmentally responsible way possible are driven by a set of rigorous targets. I’m delighted to say our strategy is working and, despite passenger numbers doubling, our environmental footprint is better today than it was in the early 1990s.”
Martin Willmore, Senior Vice President, Specialist Services, UK, DHL Supply Chain, added: “After a decade of working closely with Gatwick, we’re excited to still be finding innovative ways to improve operations across the airport. 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.
“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.”