From the SDGs: Relevant targets

12.2) By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

12.3) By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.

12.4) By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

12.5) By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

12.6) Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

12.b) Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.

From the SDGs: Aviation-relevant indicators

12.2.1) Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP.

12.2.1) Domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP

12.4.1) Number of parties to international multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement.

12.4.2) Hazardous waste generated per capita and proportion of hazardous waste treated, by type of treatment.

12.5.1) National recycling rate, tons of material recycled.

12.6.1) Number of companies publishing sustainability reports.

12.7.1) Number of countries implementing sustainable public procurement policies and action plans.

12.B.1) Number of sustainable tourism strategies or policies and implemented action plans with agreed monitoring and evaluation tools.

Did you know?

Over 90% of most aircraft can be recycled. The members of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association recycle over 150 aircraft a year.

Relevance to aviation

Due to international laws, not all waste generated on flights can be recycled – much of it must be destroyed for quarantine reasons – but the industry is working on ways to change this. Airlines and manufacturers work closely together to responsibly dispose of aircraft at their end-of-life. When compared to other industries, aircraft manufacturers operate relatively clean operations with limited consumption of water and CO2 emissions.

Examples of action

  • Galapagos Airport’s terminal is made from 80% recycled material from the old terminal and the structure that supports the new building was constructed from recycled petroleum exploration pipes, which were recovered from the Ecuadorian Amazon.
  • Nearly every major aircraft and engine manufacturer is part of the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association. These industry leaders have shown their commitment to end-of-life issues by joining and/or getting accredited by AFRA.
  • Auckland Airport has worked with Air New Zealand and the New Zealand Government to implement an innovative cabin waste recycling programme that diverted over half the waste from landfill and also complies with the country’s strict quarantine laws.
  • Air France-KLM is working to minimise waste throughout the supply chain with an eco-design approach.
  • The Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi is working in partnership with Boeing to develop a sustainable aviation fuel production process, which creates jet fuel and supports local aquaculture.
  • Changi Airport uses recycled materials in construction projects, including runways, roadways and drains.
  • British Airways has put in place a recycling target of 50% at its Heathrow and Gatwick bases.
  • Dublin Airport has developed a Waste Management Strategy, which aims to decrease waste production with the ultimate aim of having “Zero Waste to Landfill” at Dublin Airport.
  • Gatwick Airport is building the first waste-to-energy plant in the airport sector.
  • Bombardier published an environmental lifecycle analysis to demonstrate the ‘eco-design’ credentials of the new CS100 aircraft.

How governments can assist

  • Work with the industry to support recycling of waste from international flights. Work to alter international waste legislation to allow the safe recycling of cabin waste from international flights.
    Increase the rate of aircraft end-of-life recycling worldwide.
  • Implement policies that increase accessibility and affordability of public transport networks to tourists.
  • Support multi-modal operations for passengers and freight to improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Promote additive layer manufacturing (also known as 3D printing).