Quick Response for Special Needs. Task 28. Recovering International Recyclables from In-flight Service

The USDA mandates that regulated (i.e., international) waste can be handled only by a person or business with a compliance agreement with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). In general, waste from arriving international flights must be disposed of by incineration, sterilization, or grinding into an approved sewage system. While the USDA APHIS Recycling Material Exemption identifies situations in which materials can be recycled, in most cases these materials are still disposed of. Research is needed to identify opportunities for increasing the share of international waste that is recycled, including a review of practices in other countries. The objective of this research is to prepare a primer for airport industry practitioners that describes current practice regarding recovering recyclables from flights arriving from international destinations. The primer should include, at a minimum: (1) A discussion of why airports and their stakeholders are focusing on recycling material from arriving international flights; (2) An overview of how current U.S. policies and regulations concerning the handling of international waste from in-flight service were developed, including the research upon which they are based (e.g., pest risk analysis or pathway analysis), and how they are currently applied; (3) A review of non-U.S. recycling laws and practices relative to recovering waste from arriving international flights, including considerations for potential applicability in the U.S.; (4) A description and flow chart of arriving international waste from the aircraft to its final disposition (i.e., incineration, sterilization, grinding); (5) A discussion of potential current, near-term, and long-range recycling challenges and opportunities (including specific materials that could be salvaged); (6) A discussion of potential costs, cost savings, and/or opportunities for revenue generation from the recycling of international in-flight solid waste; (7) Guidance for airports to partner with stakeholders to maximize the recycling of international waste; (8) A discussion of U.S. laws affecting opportunities for recovering recyclables from international in-flight service; and (9) U.S. and non-U.S. case study examples.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $122000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 11-02, Task 28

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Navarrete, Joseph

  • Performing Organizations:

    GeneraCycle Inc.

    66 Wellington Street, West
    1032 STN TD Bank Tower
    Toronto, Ontario  Canada  M5K 1P2
  • Principal Investigators:

    Gregoire, James

  • Start Date: 20170616
  • Expected Completion Date: 20181031
  • Actual Completion Date: 20181031
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41269

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01617747
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 11-02, Task 28
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 24 2016 1:00AM