Gatwick Airport will soon be announcing a world first: that it will be the first airport to produce power from commercial waste after the launch of a new processing plant on-site later this year.
The power produced will be fed into the North Terminal and be used to provide space heating and power for the processing plant itself.
Gatwick is working with DHL to develop the renewable approach to disposing of its waste. The materials used will be category one class of waste - food waste and packaging that is combined with it. Around ten tonnes of this waste will be treated each day at the plant, which will receive investment of c. £3.8 million.
Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick, said that waste management was a significant challenge for airports, but the facility at Gatwick would allow waste to be transformed into renewable energy.
He added that the airport's leadership was working towards creating the most sustainable airport in the UK and that they expected others to follow their lead. Already, Gatwick has achieved the sought-after Carbon Trust Standard award three times, recognising their commitment to green initiatives.
Category one waste represents a vast cost to the flight industry of c. £500 million every year. The new plant will also reduce the number of road journeys that need to be made to off-site waste management plants by half.
The new plant will also slash water requirements by 2m litres each year by allowing the waste bins to be washed at the plant with recovered water from drying waste. Gatwick is also looking at options to reuse the biomass boiler ash to manufacture 'low-carbon' concrete and will increase its recycling overall to 89pc from 49pc by 2020.