Passengers pitch in to divert landfill waste

The latest Airports Council International rankings place Orlando International Airport (MCO) at 11th busiest in the United States. It also is the 3rd fastest growing U.S. airport. MCO and Orlando Executive Airport are administered by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA).

Challenge can bring opportunity. Size and growth expand environmental impact, but also increase the opportunity and value of resiliency initiatives. To balance “environment and community outreach, and the economics of managing the airport”[1], GOAA has formalized longstanding sustainable initiatives, documenting them in the GOAA Sustainability Management Plan (SMP).

Diverting waste from the landfill

Published in 2013, the SMP lists several initiatives. The first of those is an increased diversion rate, consigning less waste to a landfill.

Currently, 45.4 million passengers per year arrive or depart through MCO. They have a significant impact on waste management.

As they stride through the airport, passengers are likely to be most concerned about one of the 918 daily arrivals and departures. Discarding trash and recyclables in the correct receptacle is a lesser concern.

Understanding the traveling public’s perspective, MCO places trash and recycle receptacles side-by-side. The containers display standardized labels that illustrate materials to be recycled. For the passenger, sorting becomes instant and automatic. Recyclable items find their way to recycling receptacles. This diverts the items from the landfill and makes them available for better uses.

Measuring impact and reporting results

Recurring waste audits prove that even when in a hurry, travelers can recycle right.

The rubber-gloves task of a waste audit quickly reveals where food waste and other contaminants have made their way into recycling receptacles. After sorting, the materials are weighed.

Solid Waste Management (SWM) strategies extend far beyond the passenger terminals. At the Automated People Mover/Intermodal Terminal Facility (APM/ITF), over 95% of construction waste has been diverted. Other SWM initiatives have recycled or repurposed 10,994 lbs. of textiles, including donated clothing and discarded uniforms.

More results in resiliency

GOAA’s 2017 Sustainability Performance Report Card reveals that over 2,235 tons of solid waste have been diverted from landfills. A 21.8% increase in waste diversion rate fulfills 43.6% of the Sustainability Management Plan goal. The report card also cites progress in several other initiatives:

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI) has been reduced 6.3%
  • Potable water use per passenger has been reduced 11.5%
  • Double the number of new or renewed concessions contracts include sustainability language
  • The 2017 GOAA Passport to Wellness Program brought 12 wellness lectures and workshops, onsite health screenings, twice-weekly onsite fitness classes and more.

Each day, when passengers “pitch in” to a recycling recptacle, they divert trash from a landfill while contributing a wide-ranging record of achievements.

[1] Sustainability Management Plan, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, 2013, p.4.

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable operations, decarbonization, and occupant wellness. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of three and has grown the company to over 20 of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


We empower organizations to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency, and improve quality of life.
Remote work is not always possible., but an estimated 56% of jobs in the U.S. are at least partially compatible wit… - 6 days ago
Alexa Stone

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
    • Traffic patterns
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.