Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s citywide recycling goals are expected to be met or exceeded by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the city agency that operates the city’s four airports.
Like similar entities throughout the state, the city airport agency currently has recycling and source reduction programs under way, but, unlike many of the others, the local airport agency’s programs are expected to meet and exceed Villaraigosa’s citywide recycling goal of 70 percent reduction by 2015, according to airport officials.
The airport agency recently reported that it has already achieved a 61.5 percent reduction rate for 2005 — the latest year for which results have been tallied.
The recycling program, formally called the Recycling and Source Reduction Program, involves recycling waste and scrap materials from daily airport and airline operations, cargo operations, and construction activities.
The program involves all four city airports — Los Angeles International (LAX), LA/Ontario International (ONT), LA/Palmdale Regional (PMD) and Van Nuys (VNY).
Notable achievements for the Recycling and Source Reduction Program in 2005 included:
– adding four tenants as new participants;
– increasing green waste recycling by 46 percent;
– increasing aluminum recycling by more than 300 percent;
– increasing mixed paper recycling by 80 percent;
– expanding the program to collect and recycle beverage containers and newspapers in all airport terminals serving domestic passengers;
– expanding can and bottle recycling efforts to include all of the agency’s break rooms and lunchrooms, and increased plastic container recycling by more than 400 percent;
– implementing alkaline battery recycling in Los Angeles World Airport offices and facilities;
– implementing the citywide rechargeable battery recycling program at LAX; and
– increasing the recycling of computer and copier toner cartridges by more than 200 percent.
Other recycling/diversion programs include:
– A Green-Waste-to-Compost Program. Grass clippings and tree trimmings from landscape operations are transported to a Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation facility to be turned into compost and mulch. Some of this material is returned to LAX and used in landscaped areas.
– Asphalt Recycling Program. Ground asphalt from pavement operations is recycled and used in pavement reconstruction projects.
– Tire Recycling. Discarded tires are recycled from Los Angeles World Airports vehicles. The tires are then ground up and used in paving materials.
– A citywide rechargeable battery recycling program.
– Waste oil recycling from fleet maintenance operations.
– A food donation program, where 29 tons of consumable food from airline catering and airport food/beverage concessionaires were donated to homeless shelters in 2005.
– Escalator belt reuse. Worn rubber belts from escalators are reused as borders around landscaped areas.
For the more than 100 airline, tenant and concessionaire leaseholders at LAX, participation in the recycling program is currently voluntary, officials said. They may choose to participate in recycling through services provided by Los Angeles World Airports or conduct their own re- cycling programs.
“In these instances, LAWA offers ongoing free training on recycling issues and on implementing a recycling program, as well as assistance with submitting recycling reports,” said David Waldner, assistant director of Construction and Maintenance Services, which operates the recycling program.
In 2005, 20 airlines and tenants at LAX reported recycling 3,720 tons of material through their own recycling programs, which represented 18 percent of the overall recycling program.
A number of those reported handling recycling activities for multiple concessions and/or airlines.
“It has been determined that 71 percent of the total waste disposed of at LAX is contributed by LAX tenants who maintain their own contracts for waste hauling at their facilities,” said Waldner. “The remaining 29 percent of waste is controlled, but not necessarily generated, by LAWA.”
He added that projects currently in the process of being studied or implemented include new advertising “amenity units” in airport terminals that incorporate recycling collection spaces into the units, recycling coffee grounds, expanded oil and grease recycling efforts, and the inclusion of mandatory recycling requirements in new concession contracts.