Lots of garbage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

I prepared for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by spending the afternoon with garbage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

First up:  an exhibit featuring  artwork by Dorothy Rissman made from trash she found on city streets, construction sites and beaches.

Dorothy Rissman - Snack Pack Dress

Dorothy Rissman - Reflector ball

Next: an introduction to the airport’s six pair of shiny new, computer-monitored trash compactors, set out for use by airlines.

(courtesy Sea-Tac Airport)

Sea-Tac Airport is incredibly enthusiastic about reducing waste and has won awards for the amount of trash it recycles and the wide range of things it recycles. For example, unsold food goes to food banks; spent cooking grease becomes bio-diesel fuel; and organic waste – including tons of coffee grounds, of course – gets composted.

Now the airport is turning its eco-eye on all the garbage that arrives on airplanes.

Instead of letting each airline take care of its own garbage, the airport bought a dozen computer-monitored giant compactors (six for trash; six for garbage) so that it can coordinate and monitor airplane trash.   Airlines that separate magazines, newspapers, soda cans and other recyclable items can get rid of that stuff for free.  And if they do a good job of helping the airport keep trash out of the landfills, airlines can get credit to help lower their annual bill.

Happy Earth Day!