Hartsfield-Jackson launches new recycling program

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport announced the launch of a recycling program that calls for airport visitors to throw trash and recyclables into the same container.

A contractor later sorts recyclables from waste, a move the airport expects will reduce the amount of trash it sends to landfills by 50 percent after a year and by 70 percent after two years. About 250,000 people Hartsfield-Jackson daily, and nearly 70 tons of trash is generated each day.

The single-stream recycling program, called GreenSortATL, is run by the airport's facility management company Atlanta Airlines Terminal Corp. and will create 28 jobs, according to the airport. Waste Pro USA transports the waste to a material recovery facility for sorting, and the company recently got permits to expand the facility.

In an airport, where people are in a rush and may not have time to look for the right recycling bin, "the single stream really is ideal," said Waste Pro USA general counsel Jeanie Dubinski.

"We aim for GreenSortATL to become one of the largest such programs in the Southeast and to make Hartsfield-Jackson as green as any airport in the nation," said airport general manager Ben DeCosta in a written statement Thursday.

The program is already underway and will be phased in to increase the amount of recycling with the facility expansion expected next April. The airport currently has garbage cans and a limited  number of recycling containers, and will be switching to new GreenSortATL cans.

The airport's waste stream includes about 37 percent solid waste, 29 percent cardboard, 10 percent office paper, 1 percent steel or aluminum, 9 percent trash bag liners, 6 percent plastic bottles and 8 percent towel waste.

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