PHX Perspective

Recycling Facility Streamlines Operations

In a continued effort to save money and be more environmentally friendly, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will open a new facility to process recyclable materials and regular waste by August 1.

The new recycling center will be able to handle not only recycled material, but regular waste as well. The over 40,733 square foot facility is equipped with three compactors.  One compactor handles commingled recyclables (items that are collected in the recycle bins you see in the Airport terminals). The other processes clean cardboard, and the third compactor is for regular waste. There will also be open containers for metal salvage and green waste such as grass, tree and other landscape trimmings. Each of the compactors features a custom hopper and special surround designed to ease the collection of materials and funnel them into the compactors quickly, while eliminating birds and other pests from the area.

Why build the facility? “This facility will make the recycling and waste handling processes go much more smoothly for the Airport,” Aviation Superintendent Bobbie Reid said.

In fact, because there wasn’t a facility available in the past, the Airport was double and triple handling waste. Typically over 10,000 tons of waste is generated annually. Now, with this facility, the process has become more sanitary and streamlined and containers or refuse trucks can tip their loads directly into the specially designed compactors and quickly return to the terminals to pick up more waste. Because more materials will be compacted, the Airport’s costs for waste removal will be reduced because fewer trips will be required to send materials to recycling centers or the landfill. Waste Management takes care of removing regular waste, while the city of Phoenix Public Works Department removes the recycled materials for processing at the city’s Materials Recovery Facility.

More then 4,400 tons of waste have been processed in the first five months of 2010, including commingled, cardboard, green waste, etc., and the savings can be substantial.  Currently, 10 percent of the total waste out of Phoenix Sky Harbor is recycled, and the Airport is working hard to exceed that amount. By utilizing the new facility there will be an approximate $70,000 a year man-power savings because the recycling process will be streamlined, and another $30,000 - $40,000 is estimated to be saved by avoiding landfill charges and reducing pull charges. On top of that, PHX is able to gain a small amount of revenue from the sale of recycled materials.

Another interesting component of this facility is that there is room to grow. The facility has the space to double the amount of on-site equipment. "We will be able to efficiently handle the Airport’s waste and recycling programs now and well into the future," Reid said.

CK Engineers served as this project’s designer while CSW completed the project as a Job Order Contractor (JOC) and Burgis Envirolutions designed and provided all the compactors.

This new facility is only one example of the many green initiatives occurring at PHX Sky Harbor.  For additional information on other programs, click here

Above and to the right, Jason Kroeplin demonstrates cardboard recycling at the new site.

First posted: 7/22/2010

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