Oct. 09--South Florida airports are playing their part in preserving the environment by giving new life to trash and debris that otherwise would end up in landfills.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has been recycling materials such as paper and empty plastic bottles for more than 20 years.
It recently began recycling old tarmac from the former south and diagonal runways. Instead of clogging landfills, the debris will be used in the construction of the 7,000-foot-long, 150-foot-wide south runway, which is to be completed in September 2014.
The elevated runway will require about 7 million cubic yards of fill. So far, the debris replaces about 1,185 truckloads of fill that would otherwise have been hauled in, officials said.
The airport last year had 23.5 million passengers who helped generate an enormous amount of waste, spokesman Greg Meyer said Tuesday. Each year, an on-site sorting and separating facility processes about 7 million pounds of solid waste from airport tenants, terminals, offices, the rental car center and related facilities, according to airport data.
More than 2 million pounds of the recyclable waste is aluminum, plastic, glass, paper and cardboard, said Allan Siegel, the airport's community outreach coordinator. The rest of the waste is sent to a local facility where it's used to generate electricity.
"It saves the airport money by not paying a company to remove or recycle the waste," Siegel said.
The airport's maintenance facilities also recycle waste oil, fluorescent bulbs, spent solvents, tires, batteries and unused paints.
At Palm Beach International Airport, cardboard is the only material currently recycled because the airport's operator hasn't found a vendor to provide comprehensive recycling services, spokeswoman Stephanie Richards said.
Next spring, Miami International Airport plans to expand its recycling program to include water bottles, soda cans and cardboard food containers discarded by passengers, officials announced last week.
One hundred recycling containers will be placed in MIA's North Terminal next March and 500 more in May wherever garbage receptacles are now located.
"The new recycling program will deliver a major customer service enhancement to our environmentally conscious passengers, add a significant component to our green efforts, and generate non-aeronautical revenue that helps decrease our costs to the airlines," Miami-Dade Aviation director Emilio T. Gonzalez said in a statement. "Everyone, and most importantly our environment, wins."
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Copyright 2013 - Sun Sentinel
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