Reversing The Reputation: Airports That Have Gone Green

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Written by Michael Foote, founder of Quote Goat, has over 13 years experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors.

In a time where eco-warriors dominate society and the need to do to more to protect our environment has become a mainstream effort (excusing the unqualified and ill-informed baboon that is President Trump, of course), there is one industry that has been working extra hard to overturn its bad reputation: the aviation industry.

When you think about this industry as a whole, and what makes it so bad for the environment, chances are you focus solely on the aircraft side of things, muttering obscenities at the amount of emissions each plane must chuck out per flight. However, it is the airports themselves that are notoriously bad. However, their approach to things has changed somewhat over recent years with them adopting certain different programs and approaches.

To see which airports are doing the most on this front, keep reading and know that their efforts are keeping the world safe (even if it’s just for an extra couple of years).

East Midlands Airport, Nottingham

That’s right, of all the huge airports the world over, it is this mid-sized airport in the heart of the UK that snatches our top spot. This is because it has done so much to go greener, including its much-celebrated recycling program. The great thing about this how far their ability to recycle has stretched, ensuring it includes as many materials as possible – wood, metal, cardboard, light filaments, glass and, yes, paper, including the paper from tossed magazines. Another area where it has also made special efforts to improve is with its conveyor belts, using variable speed drives to make sure they run as smoothly as possible and don’t overheat, something you can find out more about with a quick scan. They also enforce strict emissions testing on all of the vehicles that are used on their airport site. But before you start fist pumping and chanting, “EMA, EMA, EMA,” we should also tell you that they have installed two wind turbines too, which makes it the first airport to run this kind of initiative in the UK. Okay, now you can start chanting.

Zurich Airport, Switzerland

Aside from their very strict measurement of noise pollution – in which they hand out some of the most severe fines based on aircraft type and category – this airport has made huge strides on the air and water front. In fact, Zurich Airport takes this more seriously than anything else, something that was proved by their voluntary refurbishment that aimed to reduce its footprint substantially. To kick things off, let’s start with the water management strategy, in which they created a system that collects rainwater that is then used in their flushing toilets. Oh, and they also have a system in place that purifies the water they collect too, which is pretty cool. The other thing they are totally awesome at is recycling and just reducing their waste in general. For starters, they use an electronic billing system on all fronts, while another system is used to keep track of recycling and waste. It’s quite the step forward.

Boston Logan Airport, USA

Despite the fact Donald Trump is giving America an incredibly bad rep on the environmental front, American airports have been doing more than their fair share of reducing their impact on the world, and none more so than Boston Logan. This is proved by their incorporation of both wind turbines and solar panels. Of course, this wasn’t enough for them so they went about twelve steps further and added aircraft plug-in power options at each gate so that their aircraft sat on the tarmac wouldn’t have to use their auxiliary power so much while they waited. Why this airport really deserves credit, though, is because this push to be greener wasn’t an afterthought that came off the back of public pressure. Nope. They decided they wanted to champion a green approach from the moment they began construction, using a world-pleasing asphalt mix that dropped the CO2 emissions a huge amount during the build process, meaning less energy and fuel were used. Wow, we’ve said all of that and we haven’t even mentioned the natural gas fuelling stations they added for all their electric vehicles or their clean air programs.

Denver Airport, USA

If you are looking for an all-rounder that is even more impressive than Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff then look no further than Denver International. This is just an airport worth visiting for no other reason than visiting this airport, as its award for being the best domestic airport would attest. In terms of its green abilities, though, this place rocks and it all starts with their solar panel farm, which is largest of any commercial airport in the (currently not so) United States of America. (We’re going to try and stop banging on about Trump now). Now we know that we mentioned some of the recycling programs at other airports, notably East Midlands, but Denver takes this to a whole other level. You see, they don’t just do the generic bits and bobs like paper and plastic bottles and whatnot. Oh no. They also recycle things like the grease from their onsite restaurants, the deicing fluid from aircraft and the demolition materials they use too. In fact, they recycle over twenty different types of material. Now that is what we call impressive. They haven’t stopped there, though. They have also added plug-in power options at each of their gates and only use alternative-fuel vehicles. What’s more, they have even started to influence those outside their jurisdiction by offering a reduced fee for any taxi company that uses a hybrid car to do business. Now that is seriously cool.

As you can see from this list, which covers airports the world over, these huge spaces are going greener – much greener – and it isn’t just to avoid financial consequences but because they feel the responsibility to do more is on them. That is what makes these airports so deserving of our list. Of course, this list is extensive and so we need to offer a shout out to some of the other do-gooders, such as Seattle-Tacoma and San Francisco, both of whom have done a tremendous job too. Hopefully, the rest of the world will catch on and completely reverse the reputation they had acquired.


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