Airport commits to waste reduction and environmental sustainability

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Building on efforts to be industry leaders in environmental sustainability, the Jackson Hole Airport Board voted on Monday to seek a 60% waste reduction from its onsite operations by 2030.

“Jackson Hole Airport is committed to leading by example when it comes to sustainability and mitigating environmental impacts,” said JH Airport Board President Rick Braun. “Our location inside Grand Teton National Park comes with a responsibility, one that we take very seriously. Continually working to reduce our footprint is a big part of our mission and reflects our shared community values.”

A new Glycol Recovery System on the tarmac’s deicing pads has helped filter out unwanted chemicals from leaching into the groundwater at JH Airport.
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In the fall of 2018 the airport conducted a waste study to measure and evaluate the facility’s waste stream, assess existing waste management practices, and provide recommendations for increasing waste diversion from landfill. The results of the waste study were used to create a Waste Management Plan for the Airport to more efficiently manage waste and to increase diversion, in alignment with Teton County and Grand Teton National Park’s goal of 60% diversion by 2030.

“With over 800,000 members of the public passing through the Airport each year, we are in a unique position to set the tone for environmental stewardship for visitors and locals alike,” said JH Airport Board Member Mary Gibson Scott. “Education and outreach, along with best waste management practices, will ensure our guests recognize this region and its ecosystem as one that needs to be protected and respected.”

Airport Director Jim Elwood said, “This is a continuation of our journey toward reducing the footprint of this airport. It is consistent with our stated values and goals of reducing emissions and noise as well as our waste stream.”

Immediate measures in include the continued installation of a comprehensive storm filtration system designed to remove silts and hydrocarbons from surface water before it hits the town/county’s sewer. This includes a tie-in with the already completed Glycol Recovery System on the tarmac’s deicing pads. It will mean a disruption of an already tight parking lot area but Elwood said the end result will be well worth it.

“This system is the first of its kind to be installed at any airport in the world as far as I know. It is very effective in pulling off contaminants that might otherwise to be left in surface waters,” Elwood said. “We were not required by any regulatory agency to do this. We took it upon ourselves and have put forth more than a million dollars for this because we know there are extra expectations and additional responsibilities being the only commercial airport located in a national park.”

Parking lot construction will be held off until after spring break so locals can enjoy getting in and out of the airport for the next few weeks.

Work to construct a state-of-the-art stormwater filtration system underneath the parking lot will begin after the spring break rush. (JH Airport)

Part of a bigger picture

Jedediahs at the Airport is one of the vendors that will be asked to help reduce the food waste stream. (Courtesy)

The Road to Zero Waste, a program with Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling (ISWR), provides businesses with strategies and support to reduce onsite waste. By diverting 60% of onsite waste by 2030, Jackson Hole Airport is joining other organizations in the community in recognizing how crucial these steps are to ensure the vitality of our environment for generations to come.

Short-term and long-term recommendations involve both program management as well as concrete strategies for diverting waste. Specifically, JH Airport is committed to reducing waste, as waste avoidance is the number one preferred strategy for waste management. JH Airport will focus on collaboration with tenants, airlines, vendors, waste and recycling contractors, and local pilot composting programs to establish a foundation for a long-term goal of onsite waste reduction.

The airport will also participate in a pilot project with Grand Teton National Park with a goal of making food waste from all airport vendors 100% compostable by 2030.

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