London’s Gatwick Airport has become the first airport to obtain a Zero Waste to Landfill accreditation from the Carbon Trust following the publication of its annual Decade of Change report on ten sustainability targets.

The second largest hub in the UK, Gatwick was praised by the Carbon Trust for actively diverting its non-dangerous waste streams from landfill. This was achieved by reducing waste, investing in reusable materials, increasing recycling rates and building the world’s first on-airport plant able to convert aircraft cabin waste on site into energy.

Gatwick also retained the accreditations received in 2016 for reducing carbon emissions and water use, as well as improving waste management. The London hub’s report on ten environmental and community-focused targets, which it aims to achieve by 2020, further showed a 10% reduction in annual carbon emissions from fuel and energy and a 5% drop in annual energy consumption per passenger.

Carbon Trust Business Services managing director Hugh Jones said: “Over the past two years Gatwick has made impressive progress on environmental performance to retain triple certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for continuing to reduce carbon emissions, water use and waste output.

“We are also delighted to be able to recognise its achievement of zero waste to landfill status for the first time. Gatwick is setting an excellent example, showing how a business can improve its operational efficiency and its environmental results at the same time, as well as encouraging higher levels of action elsewhere by positively influencing other companies that operate at the airport site.”

The move comes shortly after the airport announced a new three-year deal with business electricity supplier Haven Power, which will provide 100% renewable electricity. Gatwick’s commitment to sustainable electricity will feature the installation of 100% LED lights on the runway, saving the airport enough carbon to fill Wembley Stadium five times.

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Gatwick Airport sustainability manager Rachel Thompson told Airport Technology that the hub is purposely taking a leading position to help drive change.

She added: “Gatwick has made these commitments as it’s the right thing to do and it matters to our staff and local communities. An important driver for our work in this area has been an airport-wide recognition that the economic benefits the airport generates as it grows must be balanced with a sustainable airport operation.

“I think the message we would like our passengers and other stakeholders to get from these commitments is that we are a responsible airport which is serious about sustainability, the environment and our local community.”

Thompson added that Gatwick is on track to achieve its targets on carbon, energy, water, waste and public transport, and best practice goals on air quality, noise, biodiversity and community engagement by 2020.

“I think the message we would like our passengers and other stakeholders to get from these commitments is that we are a responsible airport which is serious about sustainability, the environment and our local community,” she said. “Gatwick’s example shows that purchasing renewable electricity and sending zero waste to landfill brings operational financial and environmental benefits.”