Glasgow Airport is part of AGS Airports Ltd which is the second largest airport group in the UK. A recent study by York Aviation calculated that the activities and connectivity associated with the airport support over 30,000 jobs and £1.44 billion of economic activity across Scotland.
A key component of Scotland’s transport infrastructure, the airport carried nine million passengers in 2019.
Interviewee: Kirsty Webster, Sustainability Manager
Waste minimisation and recycling is a key component of Glasgow Airport’s Sustainability Policy, but with several retail outlets at the airport all selling hot beverages, used take-away cups were becoming a major waste challenge.
Not only were waste bins being clogged with the voluminous cups, but customers were frequently confused about which bin to place them, often resulting in the contamination of dry mixed recycling.
Since used cups is a very specialised waste stream, the Airport was not able to recycle their used cups through their incumbent contractor. However, through Keep Scotland Beautiful’s ‘Cup Movement’ recycling initiative, Glasgow Airport were introduced to Simply Cups; one of the scheme’s key collaborators.
In August 2019, Glasgow Airport became a full member of the Simply Cups recycling service, giving it access to both a regular cup collection service and a wide choice of cup recycling bins. An initial order of seven 3-tube wall mounted cup bins were ordered, to be placed within seven of the Airport’s retail outlets. Each bin has separate apertures for cups, lids and liquids, ensuring that the materials collected can all be recycled without contamination. The Airport then got buy-in from each retailer to assume the responsibility for emptying and cleaning their own bin. Simply Cups then provided sacks for the used cups which, when filled, were stored in large 110 litre bins, ready for collection.
Between October 2019, when the new cup bins were first put in place, and March 2020, more than 36,000 used cups have been collected and diverted from landfill or incineration.
“Working with Simply Cups to implement the whole cup collection and recycling process has been great….The cup bins are working really well, and because the signage is clear and concise there is almost zero contamination It is also now clear and obvious for passengers to understand where they should dispose their coffee cups after use. I’ve also been really impressed with Simply Cups’ service; there was always clear communication and problems were resolved quickly and without any fuss”says Kirsty Webster, Glasgow Airport’s Sustainability Manager.