A comprehensive terminal and concourse recycling program at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport has already seen output double in the first six months since it was implemented earlier this year. Lambert expects to increase output even more with the roll out this week of dozens of combined single-stream recycling and trash containers for all public areas in the terminals, concourses and parking garages.
“The first phases of our program have been focused on improving recycling with our airlines and other airport business partners,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “Now we’re reaching directly to our customers and passengers throughout the airport to make an even bigger impact on what we divert from the landfill.”
Lambert estimates it captured approximately 10 percent of recyclable waste from terminal and concourse operations prior to the launch of the new program. After six months, the Airport is now capturing 20 percent of recyclable waste. Lambert’s overall recycling rate is higher when other programs are factored in such as the recycling of construction waste, runway rehabilitation waste, equipment and scrap metal.
Lambert has worked with Republic Services, its waste services contractor, to formulate its strategic recycling program. Beginning in March, the Airport mapped out new locations and increased the amount of recycling dumpsters on the airside and non-public work areas associated with terminal operations. Lambert expanded collection from separating paper products and drink bottles to a single stream collection system to capture more recyclables such as cardboard, aluminum, paper products and plastics. Along with new equipment, the Airport has focused on extensive training for Airport staff, tenants and concessionaires to improve awareness about recycling and sustainability processes.
The newest phase of the program is the roll out of new public containers which opens single stream recycling to the public for the first time at the Airport. Lambert serves nearly 13 million passengers a year. The new containers will accept more types of recycled materials (mixed recyclables or single stream) than previous containers which only accepted paper or plastic bottles. Also, mixed recyclables and trash containers will be conveniently placed in one unit which will make it easy for passengers to quickly dispose of recyclables and waste and increase the Airport’s recycling rates. The containers will be in all major path areas of terminals and concourses as well as all parking garages.
“We’re making sure that all our passengers and guests have quick and easy access to dispose of recyclable material.” said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.
The Airport’s recycling program highlights a key objective of the St. Louis City Sustainability Plan and the Mayor’s Sustainability Action Agenda which is pushing for 100 percent single stream recycling for all City government buildings by 2018. Lambert also began a food recycling program in 2012 to collect un-served waste and customer leftovers for conversion to high-grade agricultural compost for use on farms and gardens.
Office of the Mayor
Waste Management and Recycling