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The sustainability of Detroit Metropolitan Airport was firmly on the mind of Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) this week when it unveiled plans to revamp its public recycling programme in the North Terminal. 

It says that the modifications being made to the programme are in response to customer suggestions and the State of Michigan’s efforts to improve recycling throughout the state.


This week, WCAA has added 45 coloured recycling receptacles to the North Terminal.

The recyclable contents placed in the bins will be brought to an in-terminal recycling compactor before being transported to a local recycling facility to begin the journey to become reprocessed.

“Detroit Metropolitan Airport [DTW] is often the first place people experience when visiting our great state,” noted Wayne County Airport Authority’s CEO, Chad Newton.

“We are happy to partner with our customers and airport community to reduce how much waste is sent to landfills.

“As an organisation, we strive to be good environmental stewards and will continue to implement green features throughout our terminals.”

According to WCAA, DTW has long been an industry leader in recycling aircraft de-icing fluid and is one of the top two airports known worldwide for this practice.

In 2018, more than 56,000lbs of paper, 53,500lbs of metal, 12,600lbs of cardboard and 240lbs of plastic were recycled from airport authority offices.


Nearly 1,550 tons of waste was removed from the North Terminal in 2016, with 20% being recyclable.

WCAA insists that it encourages travellers to help maximise the amount of recyclable material by appropriately disposing of plastic bottles, metal cans and paper into one of the new recycling bins.

“Our new waste receptacles use colours, shapes and pictures to help simplify the recycling process for our passengers,” comments WCAA sustainability program administrator, Sara Kaplan.

“A single plastic bottle can take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill. With recycling, those bottles can be turned into other consumer products, such as T-shirts, carpet fibre, and even recycling bins. 

“Our new recycling bins are made out of recycled milk jugs, with 97% recycled content.”

WCAA notes that it is committed to sustainability through its People, Planes, and Planet Program.

In addition to in-terminal recycling, WCAA has implemented a coffee ground compost and food donation programme for terminal concessions.

There are also several electric car charging and bottle filling stations at various locations throughout DTW. 


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