Airport updates (June 2017)

Airport updates (June 2017)

Ricardo Airports Update (June 2017)

Opportunities for the management of catering waste

Expected to double over the next 15 years, it has been reported that IATA estimates that airline passengers generated 5.2m tonnes of waste globally in 2016, much of which was sent to landfill or energy from waste facilities. 

Regulatory requirements limit the opportunities to manage this waste further up the waste hierarchy, e.g. recycling rather than landfilling.

International catering waste is classed as a Category 1 (high risk) Animal By-Product (ABP) and must be incinerated or landfilled.  International catering waste means food waste or mixed waste streams containing meat, fish and food from animal origins such as milk, cheese, honey etc. from aircraft travelling outside the EU.  Food waste containing animal by-products (ABP) that is generated by aircraft in the EU is classed as domestic catering waste, provided that areas of the aircraft that have been in contact with ABP outside of the EU have been cleaned and disinfected and that restocking is done in the EU.  Domestic catering waste is classed as Category 3 ABP.

Although international catering cannot be composted or sent to anaerobic digestion, domestic catering waste can.  However, segregation of international and domestic catering waste can be an issue at airports, and domestic catering waste is often processed in the same way as international catering waste. 

There are opportunities to recycle waste from outside the EU; however, items must be separated for recycling at source, and items that have been mixed with pots of honey, milk or milk products cannot be recycled, unless it can be verified that the product was treated in an EU treatment plant, such as a milk processing plant.  This means, for example, that plastic cups used for tea containing milk from processing plants in Australia cannot be recycled and must be managed as international catering waste.

Although there are fewer options for the management of international catering waste, both off-site and on-site treatment options can be considered.  An example of this is the energy from waste facility at Gatwick, enabling international catering waste to be processed on-site, with the energy used to dry the waste and heat the site.

Our waste management and resource efficiency team assists organisations to move wastes up the waste hierarchy, i.e. away from disposal to recovery, recycling, re-use or reduction. We provide independent market due diligence assessments as well as supporting organisations to review compliance with regulations, develop waste strategies and to procure waste contracts.  Our team also conducts technical due diligence assessment to support organisations when considering investing in new waste technologies.  For further information on our services, please contact [email protected] or visit:

Mitigating chemical risks associated with the transportation of dangerous goods by air

The transport of cargo containing hazardous materials poses a number of chemical risks and requires compliance with several dangerous good transport regulations. Through the National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC), Ricardo’s airport team specialise in the provision of global, multilingual telephone chemical emergency response services and expertise designed to protect people, the environment, assets and business reputation from the effects of a chemical incident.

Through the NCEC, our chemical risk services include the provision of:

  • Chemical Emergency Response Service (CERS) - NCEC's multilingual, chemical telephone emergency response service provides access to a team of trained chemists who, in the event of a chemical incident or crisis, are able to administer expert advice 24 hours day. This helps organisations transporting hazardous cargo by air to protect people and the environment, reduce the scale and costs of incidents, comply with international regulations (including those issued by The International Air Transport Association – IATA) and demonstrate commitments to corporate social responsibility. International logistics company, DHL®, use CERS to ensure their air shipments are safeguarded against the implications of chemical incidents and compliant with international dangerous goods regulations.
  • Chemdata® - NCEC’s hazardous chemical information database provides airport emergency operators with rapid access to relevant and easy to understand chemical information in the event of an incident involving hazardous materials. The information is designed to enable operators to handle the response efficiently and effectively with minimal operational disruption and damage to people, the environment and property.Chemdata is used by Heathrow Airport, London Stansted Airport, Aberdeen International Airport and Glasgow Airport to provide airport emergency operators with timely advice in the event of incidents involving the transportation of hazardous cargo.
  • Regulatory expertise – through the NCEC, Ricardo Energy & Environment has a comprehensive understanding of all legislation relating to the manufacture, distribution, use, treatment and disposal of chemicals and is able to guide organisations through the complicated processes of fulfilling IATA regulatory obligations so that organisations do not suffer the implications of non-compliance.