London Stansted Airport has received recognition for its support of foodbanks in local communities, at the Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice.

The airport received a ‘gold’ award for a scheme which began as a trial in 2017, ‘recycling’ non-perishable food, drink and toiletry items which had to be surrendered by passengers due to hand luggage security restrictions by giving them to local foodbanks across Uttlesford, Essex and East Hertfordshire.

Now a permanent initiative, it has contributed to supporting more than 3,000 local families to date and is run entirely by airport staff who volunteer time to sort and transport donations.

Through donations from the airport, other businesses and the community, food banks supply three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis. In the first three months, Stansted’s collection scheme donated 2.4 tonnes, or five per cent of the total collected for the entire year.

Stansted’s Environmental Manager Martin Churley collected the award at the special event held at the Houses of Parliament this week.

“London Stansted Airport has invested £30,000 in recycling equipment and, alongside volunteers, identifies food products and toiletries which could easily and safely be given away to support the vulnerable. The variety of products we collect varies hugely, from shampoo, olive oil through to cake and coffee. The most commonly collected products are marmite, peanut butter and jam.

We also worked with the Department for Transport and our security teams to ensure the process was considered safe and signed off by Government. As well as supporting local families, the scheme helps our staff stay connected with the communities around the airport."
Martin Churley, Environment Manager at London Stansted Airport

“How many times have you been going through airport security and had liquids confiscated? Stansted have trialled an initiative to take these surrendered goods and hand them over to food banks rather than waste them. Items from food and drink to toiletries have benefited more than 3000 vulnerable families and avoided a lot of needless waste." The Green Apple Awards judges

“We really do value our partnership with Stansted Airport as it helps us to provide a wider range of non-perishable food, soft drinks and toiletries to local people in crisis in Harlow and the surrounding area. With Harlow Foodbank referrals dramatically increasing this year these additional sources of items will greatly help us maintain our support for the most disadvantaged people in our community." Gary Knott, Co-Founder & Director of Community Services of the Michael Roberts Charitable Trust

As a result of this Green Apple Award success, London Stansted has been invited to have its winning paper published in The Green Book, an international work of reference on environmental best practice, so that others around the world can follow this example. The airport could also progress to represent the UK in the Green World Awards 2019 and have 100 trees planted in its name as part of the United Nations Billion Trees initiative.

Martin himself has also been named as one of the Green Apple Awards ‘Green World Ambassadors’, who will go on to represent their countries in the Green World Awards.

The Green Apple Awards is an international, annual campaign to recognise and reward environmental best practice. The Green Apple Environment Awards were launched in 1994 by The Green Organisation and have become well established as one of the most popular environmental campaigns in the world and are supported by the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.