Hartsfield-Jackson moves forward with recycling, composting facility

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has selected a firm to develop a recycling and composting facility on airport grounds, moving forward on a project in the works for years.

The Atlanta airport has chosen Green Energy and Development Inc. to develop the facility it calls Green Acres on 30 acres of property on the south side of the airport in Clayton County.

Hartsfield-Jackson officials say it will be the first fully enclosed recycling and composting facility at an airport, and they expect it to be up and running in early 2019. It’s part of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s initiative to make Hartsfield-Jackson a leading “green” airport. But the airport struggled in its search to find the right company.

Green Energy and Development Inc., based in Winnebago, Minn., was one of six firms to compete for the contract, along with Cash Development LLC, Randolph & Company LLC, Columbia Technology LLC, Multiplex LLC and Sun State Organics LLC.

Airport officials are seeking Atlanta City Council approval for a 30-year lease with Green Energy and Development Inc., with two five-year renewal options. Green Energy and Development will pay up to $215,883 in annual rent.

It’s not the first airport to move forward on green initiatives. Chicago O’Hare has done some composting and recycling, and also has an on-airport apiary; a grazing herd of goats, sheep, llamas and burros; a vegetated roof on the air traffic control tower administration building; and an aeroponic garden in the terminal.

But in Charlotte, an airport recycling facility ran into problems with a worm composting farm due to cost overruns, equipment malfunctions and contractor issues, according to media reports.

Hartsfield-Jackson officials want to recycle waste generated at the world’s busiest airport and compost chipped yard trimmings from the city’s public works department.

A recycling program the Atlanta airport launched and trumpeted in 2009 failed because the recyclable material was too contaminated with garbage.

Since 2012, only about 5 percent of waste generated at the Atlanta airport’s terminals and concourses has been recycled, even though 85 percent of the waste stream is recyclable or compostable.

It has been a year since airport officials launched their fourth attempt to find a company to develop and operate a facility. The first attempt was canceled to revise the requirements. The second yielded no qualified responses. The third was canceled due to incorrectly completed forms submitted by firms competing for the project.

While the project was delayed, Hartsfield-Jackson officials were attempting to move forward on new requirements for airport restaurants to stop using Styrofoam and to use compostable materials.

But they got pushback from airport restaurateurs because Green Acres was delayed.

“I believe it is foolhardy to implement the compostable packaging at the airport until we have a facility to take it to,” Georgia Restaurant Association CEO Karen Bremer told the Atlanta city council transportation committee in August. “It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of money.”

Last month, Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council told the committee that the airport would delay the composting requirement until Dec. 29.


AJC Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi keeps you updated on the latest news about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines and the airline industry in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.

In other Airlines news:

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Delta pushes for anonymity in second airport opposition
Delta pushes for anonymity in second airport opposition

In the protracted fight over creating metro Atlanta’s second commercial airport in Paulding County, supporters of the idea have long alleged that Delta Air Lines is funding lawsuits filed by residents challenging that effort. Delta says it’s no secret that it opposes the commercialization of the Paulding airport, 38 miles northwest...
Atlanta-based SunTrust says data on 1.5 million customers tapped
Atlanta-based SunTrust says data on 1.5 million customers tapped

Atlanta-based SunTrust on Friday said it feared that a now-former employee had wrongly accessed basic information about 1.5 million customers. The company became aware in late February that the person – an employee at the time – had access to confidential information including names, addresses, phone numbers and some account balances. However...
Delta adding more inspections of its Boeing 737 engines
Delta adding more inspections of its Boeing 737 engines

In the wake of the Southwest Airlines engine failure that left one woman dead, Delta Air Lines said it is adding more inspections of those engines in its fleet. Atlanta-based Delta’s entire Boeing 737 fleet has the same type of engines that were in the Southwest plane that blew an engine Tuesday. The CFM56-7B engine that blew on the Southwest...
Former FAA administrator joins Delta board of directors
Former FAA administrator joins Delta board of directors

Michael Huerta, the former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration is joining Delta Air Lines’ board of directors.  Huerta served a five-year term as FAA administrator after being nominated to the position by President Barack Obama and sworn into office in January 2013. He stepped down at the completion of his term...
Georgia loses jobs in March, but unemployment rate steady
Georgia loses jobs in March, but unemployment rate steady

After two strong months, Georgia’s economy lost jobs in March. The number of jobs dropped by 7,400 during the month after adding 9,200 in January and 18,300 in February. The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a different, less extensive survey, held steady at 4.4 percent, according to a report issued Thursday by the Georgia Department...
More Stories