Airport Recycling Begins Pay Off

May 3, 2013

The Charlotte airport made $185,000 recycling trash from travelers and fast food restaurants in the terminal during the last six months. 

That's a fraction of the nearly $2 million it cost to set up the new onsite recycling facility, but Aviation Director Jerry Orr expects the program to break even within five years. He adds that sorting and selling recyclable paper, plastic and aluminum isn't the only financial perk of the program.

"The net revenues do not reflect the savings  in haul-off cost for the tons of garbage that are recycled as opposed to the landfill," said Orr at a meeting of the Airport Advisory Committee Thursday morning.

That's a savings of about $40,000 a month, says Orr. 

The airport splits the recycling profits with a private company hired to manage the recycling facility.

So far, Orr says a little less than half of all trash generated at the airport is being recycled, but the goal is to reach 100 percent. That number would trump any other U.S. airport recycling program. 

Charlotte-Douglas International has also attracted national attention for using millions of worms to compost organic waste such as food. The poop from those millions of worms is now being used as fertilizer on airport grounds.