A recycling initiative by Auckland Airport has halved the amount of aircraft cabin waste being sent to landfill.

Then initiative is a joint venture between the airport, facility management company OCS and the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), and working in collaboration with Air New Zealand has recycled an average of 695kg of waste per day.

OSC wasteline solutions manager Tony Phillips said the collaboration between the three parties had made the initiative a success story.

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"Auckland Airport repurposed a run-down building and OCS staffed the facility with seven shift workers who were trained to sort the waste to MPI specifications," Phillips said.

Prior to the facility opening in June last year, 40 tonnes of cabin waste was compacted, steam sterilised and buried in landfill each month to meet MPI's biosecurity risk requirements.

Auckland Airport sustainability manager Martin Fryer said frustration with waste management processes and lack of innovation inspired the change.

"The waste facility has since exceeded expectations in terms of the amount of waste reused and recycled and our goal is to reach 80 per cent diversion of the airport's waste from landfill by 2030," Fryer said.

Air New Zealand head of sustainability James Gibson said waste minimisation was a priority for the company.

A worker at Auckland Airport's biosecurity and transitional waste facility.
A worker at Auckland Airport's biosecurity and transitional waste facility.

"While we've seen great recycling rates from our ground sites, this facility has allowed us to substantially improve our approach to international inflight waste management, which is subject to far greater restrictions due to biosecurity controls."

At present 35 per cent of food waste from Auckland Airport is being diverted from landfill. The OCS hope this can increase to 50 per cent.