Intelligent recycling in passenger aviation
LSG First Catering, the Swiss airline catering specialist from Bassersdorf, near Zurich airport, produces around 19,000 meals and sandwiches for the aviation industry every day. Its 230 employees are totally engaged enabling airlines such as Edelweiss Air, Helvetic Airways, Swiss International, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, American Airlines and United Airlines to provide their passengers with food and drinks. Every piece of packaging carried onto the plane is returned after the flight and must be disposed of. Owing to the high cost of disposal and the lack of options for recycling the materials themselves, the company decided to acquire a “LiquiDrainer” dewatering press and a semi-automatic “AutoLoadBaler” baling press from German recycling plant manufacturer Strautmann Umwelttechnik, which is based in Glandorf. The disposal solutions from Strautmann were presented to LSG First Catering by their external waste disposal company. He knew how big the airline caterer's saving potential with the LiquiDrainer® and AutoLoadBaler is. LSG now empties all full and half-full bottles that come back from the airport, compacts 350 kilograms of packaging per day for baling and, as a result, now saves around US $41,000 a year.
All of the food and drinks prepared at the Bassersdorf site are taken directly onto the airplanes at Zurich airport. When the planes are unloaded, every single item of packaging, from dishes through chewing gum, to full and empty PET bottles, is removed. The trolleys are restocked and everything that needs to be, is disposed of. All PET bottles are collected in plastic boxes and then tipped into the LiquiDrainer, which empties the bottles completely and shoots the empty outer packaging into a large box.
“We put the liquids directly into the wastewater disposal and from there into the water treatment plant,” Operations Manager Mr Marcel Schneider explains. “Before the new disposal process was installed, everything was cleaned at the wastewater treatment plant.” The empty PET bottles, together with glass bottles, are collected by Kibag Entsorgungstechnik AG, a waste disposal company located just two kilometers from the LSG facility, and sent for recycling.
According to Mr. Schneider, LSG First Catering itself produces very little waste on site. But everything which arrives and is required for production of the meals is packaged and must be unpacked. This outer packaging is collected, pressed into bales with the semi-automatic baling press, and disposed of. Around 127t of cardboard packaging is collected in this way and sent for recycling each year.
In the case of PET, LSG used to simply throw the bottles – including their liquid contents – into the residual waste. This turned out to be a significant expense, and it meant that the company could not send the PET bottles for recycling. After switching to the Strautmann equipment, the caterer now disposes of its waste more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly manner, and the raw materials can be sent for appropriate recycling. Mr. Schneider´s point of view is whenever you can recycle something you should do it. Especially in cases of high residual waste amounts like LSG it really makes sense. Thanks to the massive reduction in the weight of the K1 waste (catering and food waste from means of transport operating internationally) and the additional remuneration for the cardboard bales, the company saves around US $41,000 per year.
„Our employees are very satisfied and immediately accepted both machines“, said Mr. Schneider. Because of limited spaces the small footprint of both machines is very important and there is no better solution for LSG.
See the LiquiDrainer and AutoLoadBaler live in action at Ifat in Munich in Hall A5 Booth 241/340.