Airbus – Landfill Diversion

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Airbus U. S. Manufacturing site is in the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. This Airbus facility is the only North American assembly plant and delivery center for the A220 and the A320, the only two Airbus single-aisle commercial airplanes in production today. The facility’s largest waste streams are crates and packaging materials that support the airplane assembly process. As single-stream recycling opportunities diminished over 2020, the Airbus overall landfill diversion dropped to 23%. In 2021,in cooperation with onsite suppliers, Airbus restructured how they collect and manage waste to improve its landfill diversion rate. Through a combination of specific single material recycling streams and waste-to-energy projects, Airbus moved to over 85% landfill diversion in less than 4 months and has maintained 85 -90% diversion through the end of 2021.

Airbus migrated from a single-stream recycling approach to sorted material recycling for cardboard, metals and wood. Most of their general waste now serves as an energy source for a local concrete manufacturing facility. As a result, Airbus has prevented 874 tons of material from entering local landfills while supporting local businesses. 

“At Airbus, we have a comprehensive sustainability strategy and set ambitious environmental goals to promote the conservation of resources and manage our industrial footprint,” said Daryl Taylor, Vice President and General Manager, Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility. “We are incredibly proud to be recognized by Partners for Environmental Progress for this important work, and we will continue our efforts to deliver on our environmental commitments.”

This new sorted material recycling and energy recovery enhanced their landfill diversion rates from 23% in 2020 to 85% by the end of 2021. With these alternative uses for the waste streams, Airbus continues to move the facility closer to a zero landfill footprint.

Partners for Environmental Progress Annual Meeting, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, at the McQueen Alumni Center in Mobile, Ala. (Mike Kittrell)