My holiday travels this season brought me through the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) with about an hour and a half between flights. I grabbed some lunch at the food court area and headed toward my gate to relax and await my boarding time. That’s when the larger than usual trash cans caught my attention. At first I wondered if the Philly BigBelly’s had made it to Atlanta but then discovered the logo GreenSortATL.

It’s as simple as their slogan: “You Trash. We Sort. It’s Recycled.” According to the Hartsfield-Jackson News feature article, “Atlanta Airlines Terminal Corp. (AATC), the Airport’s facility management company, manages the recycling program. Solid-waste handling company Waste Pro USA transports waste via an alternative-fuel truck to a material recovery facility (MRF), where it is sorted. All recyclable materials are recycled, and the rest is sent to landfills.” All passenger, employee and business waste goes into these containers eliminating the need for separate recycling bins; can it get any easier?

ATL generates almost 70 tons of paper, plastic, food and other trash every day. The GreenSortATL program plans to reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfills by 50% within the first year, 70% by the end of the second year and become one of the largest programs of this type in the Southeast.

Kim Vagher, AATC executive director stated, “The solution, developed in partnership with Waste Pro USA, exceeded our expectations. The implementation of an MRF not only solved all of our operational and financial obstacles; it creates opportunities.” One of the opportunities the recycling program brings is the creation of 28 new jobs. I’m pleased to have learned about yet another green operation and now wish I had taken a picture to include in this blog! Check out the rest of the article to see the Airport’s other sustainability program initiatives.
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Tina Lamanna

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