Reducing cabin waste to set standards for the future

Reducing cabin waste to set standards for the future

Reducing cabin waste to set standards for the future

gategroup is committed to reducing its total environmental footprint through increased environmental controls, investment in clean technologies and innovative product design.

gategroup’s airline catering unit Gate Gourmet Spain is one of six partners forming the LIFE Zero Cabin Waste project which aims to create an integrated model to reduce, reuse and recycle (including energy recovery) waste collected on airplanes.

The project focuses on recoverable waste such as light packaging plastics, cans, cartons, glass and paper and municipal solid waste from both international and EU flights. The objectives are to achieve a 5% reduction of waste generated in flight, reducing 4,340 tons of C02 emitted to the atmosphere and to demonstrate, through pilot testing, that the amount of waste dumped into landfills could potentially be reduced to zero with modifications to current legislation.

The LIFE Zero Cabin Waste project is being piloted at Gate Gourmet’s unit at Madrid’s Barajas airport where around 6000 tons of waste are currently accumulated per year.  Recently, an onboard waste separation test was carried out in which different designs of compartmentalized trolleys allowed waste to be separated into recyclable and non-recyclable. After each flight, the quantity and quality of the separated waste was recorded and analyzed in detail at the Gate Gourmet facilities and subsequently sent to the recycling plant.

Additionally, seven waste compactors are available to separate waste generated in the cabin of the aircraft and at Gate Gourmet’s facilities into organic material and other non-recyclable waste, packaging, paper and cardboard. The project team is working closely with deSter, gategroup’s provider of innovative food packaging and serviceware concepts, to tackle the waste issue from the packaging development angle.

The new waste sorting methodology is to be tested at London Heathrow in 2020 and we believe that the standards developed as an outcome of the project will become standard practice in the future.