London Stansted Airport to trial the use of fully compostable security bags

By Andrew Pentol |

London-Stansted-Compostable-security-bag-trial

London Stansted is to become the first major UK airport to trial the use of fully compostable security bags for passengers carrying liquids.

London Stansted is to become the first major UK airport to trial the use of fully compostable security bags for passengers carrying liquids in their hand luggage. If successful, the new product could replace the 11 million non-compostable plastic bags which are currently handed out in the terminal every year.

The bags are produced by PMC Polythene, which specialise in the manufacture of recyclable polythene products from recycled UK sourced waste.

Since 2006, it has been a legal requirement for passengers to place all liquids, aerosols and gels in containers of no more than 100ml into clear re-sealable bags in their hang luggage. This followed the foiled terror plot to sabotage aircraft on flights between the United Kingdom and North America using liquid-based explosives disguised as common beverages.

London Stansted has worked closely with the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority to approve the trial of the compostable bags for use in security. The trial is the result of ideas put forward by airport security colleagues Daniel Bryan, Carol Morgan and Edita Andrews, who suggested more sustainable options could be considered for security bags and to encourage passengers to only take as many bags as they need for their journey.

As part of the trial, London Stansted staff will distribute 50,000 compostable bags to passengers during one of the busiest weeks of the year for the airport as the Christmas getaway begins. The airport will also use the trial to seek passengers’ feedback on the bags, along with their wider attitudes to travelling sustainably through the airport.

PASSENGERS URGED TO REUSE BAGS

Passengers preferring to use the existing bags will be reminded to re-use them as many times as possible when travelling in the future or for other creative purposes such as sandwich bags, carrying make-up or household storage.

Stansted-Airport-at-Christmas

Staff will distribute 50,000 compostable bags to passengers during one of the busiest weeks of the year for the airport. Credit: Curtis Walsh at Rarebreed Photography.

Staff will also encourage passengers to bring refillable bottles and refill them at its water fountains and ask for their views on other related issues such as carbon offsetting and using public transport to access the airport.

The trial is the latest in a programme of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ initiatives at London Stansted which have been introduced to cut waste and support the airport’s successful zero to landfill policy. This includes donating over 15 tonnes of items surrendered by passengers at security to local food banks, giving out 1,500 free reusable bottles, 3,500 hot drinks cups, 3,800 silver birch trees, 150 Christmas trees and recently increasing the number of water refill stations throughout the terminal.

In addition, the airport has recently announced a partnership with bio bean, the world’s largest recycler of coffee grounds to convert the 150 tonnes of coffee grounds produced each year to solid biofuels.

As thousands of passengers pass through the terminal daily — each with a plastic bag for their liquids — many of these bags end up in the bin. The airport’s first message, therefore, is for customers to think carefully about how often they use the non-recyclable plastic bags. In addition to being used for a return flight, there are plenty of other uses for non-frequent flyers, so passengers are being urged to avoid throwing them away after they fly.

Martin Churley, Environment Manager, London Stansted Airport said: “We’re always on the lookout for new ways to cut down on waste. Trialling new compostable bags is just another example of how we are leading the way in tackling some of the local environmental impacts which come with running this small town that we oversee here at London Stansted.”

Daniel Bryan, Security Manager added: “Working in the frontline security operation, we see thousands of passengers passing through every day, each with their liquids in a non-recyclable plastic bag, so it made sense to suggest finding an alternative bag that was more environmentally friendly. While passengers can of course reuse the current bags multiple times, I think it’s important we do all we can to put sustainability at the heart our operation, so I’m delighted we are the first major airport in the UK to trial these new compostable bags.”

Jonny Blunt, Sales, Business Development, PMC Polyhene said PMC had introduced  a full range of compostable products for clients who are actively addressing environmental issues. “We have already developed a close relationship with Stansted Airport supplying general waste, mixed recycling and natural compostable sacks for use throughout the airport, so we are delighted to extend this partnership through the trial of our new compostable security bags.”

Stansted-Bio-Bean-partnership

The airport has formed a partnership with bio bean, the world’s largest recycler of coffee grounds to convert the 150 tonnes of coffee grounds produced each year to solid biofuels.

As announced in July, the 2020 Travel Retail Awards will see three game-changing new categories: Best Green Initiative at an Airport, Best Airport Food and Beverage Offer and Best Cruise Ship Retailer.

Nominations for the Best Green Initiative at an Airport can be submitted by the airport or any of its commercial partners including retailers and food and beverage operators.

As reportedTRBusiness has joined forces with DFI to raise crucial awareness of the plight against single-use plastics wastage and the need for more industry-wide, environmentally conscious decisions.

Earlier this year, this title announced the Plastic Pledge, urging stakeholders across the industry to Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.

Click here now to sign-up to the Plastic Pledge and join a coalition pushing forward the ‘green’ agenda through the new Travel Retail Sustainability Forum (TRSF), where you will have the opportunity to contribute to the conversation on environmental protection.

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