Ever wince at the amount of waste left over from tossed toiletries and bottled drinks at airport security lines. So do airports–and not just because of the environmental costs. Hauling away these heavy containers costs big money for cities–up to $75,000 a year in some cases. So Portland International Airport has implemented an innovative solution: let passengers dump out their bottled water and liquids at the security checkpoint and either recycle the bottles or take them through to the other side for refilling.
The six month old program has proven a success–Portland has cut disposal costs by $30,000 and presumably reduced checkpoint waste considerably since the janitorial staff dumps out 30 to 50 gallons of liquid into the sewer system every half day.
And now Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports want to get in on the money and waste-saving action. Nothing is certain yet, but the city’s Department of Aviation Commissioner is floating the idea. And why not? It’s the best type of innovation: cheap and easy, with maximum return.