We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

Recycling At Airports

I've been in six different airports in the past few weeks and have been thrilled to see recycling bins in all but one airport. It hasn't been that long since airports didn't even offer that option. What change will we see next?

The bins I've been seeing have people sort their waste into paper, containers (specifics are stated, according to the airport), and trash. Most of the time the three containers are grouped together, but sometimes the trash bin is separated from the other two bins by several feet. I'd be curious to learn which approach is more effective in getting cooperation from travelers.  

Chances are the challenge of getting people to read the sign on each bin and use it accordingly is diminishing. That's not to say those recycling efforts are perfect, only that they are more effective. I still see people walk by and just drop trash into whichever opening that's closest to them (orneriest for them), without looking where they throwing the trash. I have seen, on occasion, some travelers fish the trash from the recycling bin, that they observed someone deposit, to deposit it into the trash bin to help the recycling cause.

Airport Recycling Centers
recycling bins
recycling center

What I anticipate happening with time is that the vendors - especially food vendors - and airlines will participate in recycling more. And then they'll start reducing their waste production and the need to recycle. As the changes occur I hope my fellow travelers will have their awareness raised and be more sensitive to their actions - decreasing their waste production along the way.

Here are some hopes I have for the environmental actions at airports:

  • compostable cups, plates, and utensils will be used more
  • discounts will be offered travelers for bringing their own serviceware
  • vendors will be charged more fees for not reducing waste
  • you will get to use the same cup throughout your flight
  • airlines will quit using styrofoam for hot beverages
  • more airport food will be local, organic, and healthy

I'm impatient for more environmental action by more people, but I'll gladly accept each step taken by others as an indication of a change in awareness and progress in the cause. Recycling bins in airports is a great step in the right direction.

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