Heathrow waste audit helps it to deliver on recycling


Closed Loop Environmental Solutions (CLES) has worked with Heathrow airport to undertake a large-scale audit of its waste.

As a result of this, Heathrow is now viewing its material as a valuable resource rather than a waste.


By 2020, Heathrow wants to recycle 70 per cent of its waste. Using the CLES ‘Turnstile’ mobile material recycling facility, a comprehensive audit of Heathrow’s waste was carried out.

During the course of the audit, 100 tonnes of waste was sorted into multiple material streams from terminals 1,3 and 4 both landside and airside.

This was then extended to include a cabin waste analysis of material from airlines.

Initial trials revealed that there is more packaging waste suitable for recycling than previously thought. Indeed, around 60 per cent of cabin waste analysed could be recycled.

Heathrow waste and environment manager Mark Robertson said: “Waste management at an airport is complex. There are numerous regulations and frameworks to operate within, and many stakeholders across the airport generating many different types of waste.

“This pioneering analysis is the first step in fully understanding what waste we are producing and the infrastructure and processes needed to achieve our stretching recycling targets.”

CLES director Peter Goodwin said: “Based on the success of closed loop programmes for airports and airlines in Australia, we believe the UK now has sufficient recycling infrastructure in place to deliver these closed loop solutions.”