Rotorua International Airport has reduced its waste by 57 per cent after implementing a recycling programme for its operational and administration areas.
Airport chief executive, George White, says like any business, the Rotorua District Council-owned airport needs to be responsible for reducing its waste as much as possible for both environmental and economic reasons.
Rotorua International Airport marketing assistant Linda de Klerk keeps an eye on the airport’s new operational and administration recycling programme.
"For an operation like an airport, there are certain areas where it may not be possible to totally minimise our environmental impact, for example, the use of aircraft fuel due to the very nature of our operation. But wherever else possible, we are committed to reducing our waste and impact.
"It is critical that tourism operations - regardless of the nature of their business - are seen by locals and visitors alike to be operating in an environmentally sustainable way. Many of Rotorua’s tourism operators have visible recycling programmes in place and this is a positive development for our sector.
"At the airport we need to do our bit as well."
By April 2011, the airport had emptied 98 waste bins; by the same time this year, just 42 waste bins had been emptied. The airport has reduced its cubic metre rubbish from 441 cubic metres in the year to April 2011, to just 189 cubic metres in the year to April 2012.
Recycling waste is taken to a recycling plant in Tauranga where it is sorted into different products and bailed for shipment. The cardboard is sent to Carter Holt in Tokoroa, to be re-used in the paper and cardboard production process.
George says the recycling programme makes sense for the bottom line as certain products are re-cycled for other purposes at the airport and the waste removal bill is reduced, but the programme has other social benefits as well.
"Most of the people working at the airport live here in Rotorua and they want to be part of an organisation that is doing its bit to reduce waste and to minimise its impact on the environment. This is an initiative that we are all committed to."
George says the recycling programme will eventually be in place across the airport, including the terminals.
"The first step was to get an effective recycling programme up and running in the operational and administration areas of the airport, but plans are already underway to introduce recycling in the terminal and retails areas as well."