UPDATE: Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta is making its fourth attempt to find a contractor for its Green Acres project, which would consist of a recycling and composting facility to dispose of airport waste. The three companies that submitted proposals in July 2016 filled out the forms incorrectly and were disqualified, according to AJC.com.
- Atlanta has received proposals from three companies—Randolph & Company Inc., Sun State Organics, and Green Energy & Development—to build and operate a new facility at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport.
- The "Green Acres ATL Energy Park" would separate recyclables and compost organic material from the airport. It would also handle yard trimmings from the city's Department of Public Works.
- This is the third time that the airport has tried to get this project off the ground. In April 2015 officials canceled the process due to issues with solicitation documents and in September they announced that no valid proposals had been submitted.
Airport officials have been pursuing this idea for years, along with a number of other environmental initiatives, after facing other recycling challenges. A 2009 mixed-waste project called GreenSortATL failed because recyclable materials were too contaminated. Plans for a composting initiative, which included compostable trays and utensils, also fell through due to limited regional processing capacity.
Despite these issues, Hartsfield-Jackson has recognized that its role as the world's busiest airport comes with a level of environmental responsibility and has ambitious ideas for the future. Ideas for the Green Acres project include an anaerobic digester, material recovery facility, compost windrows, odor control bio-filtration towers, and even a greenhouse. The airport is also moving ahead with plans for solar panels and a carbon credit program.
While some airports have employed innovative methods for handling food waste, such as feeding it to worms, diverting organic material from a waste stream that is often very mixed can be tough. Recycling of any kind is even more challenging aboard planes due to space constraints, though more airlines are beginning to make it a priority.