Sea-Tac Airport Wins First Prize For um…”Green Concessions”

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(fortunately, we’re not talking about moldy ones…)

The Port of Seattle Tuesday announced that Sea-Tac Airport won first place for the Best “Green” Concessions Practice award among airports in North America.

The “green” in the award is referring of course the ecological elements that the food vendors at the airport use.

The honor was announced during the 2009 Airports Council International – North America Concessions Conference in Indianapolis, at which roughly 200 representatives of North American airport concessions industry were in attendance.

Sea-Tac was also awarded second place for Best Convenience Retail Program.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by our airport peers for our integrated recycling, composting and food bank program,” said Mark Reis, the airport’s Managing Director. “The airport concessionaires and staff have worked tirelessly to divert recyclable and compostable materials from landfills and thereby reducing waste, feeding the needy and helping lead our region and the airport industry to a sustainable future.”

According to a Port press release, during 2008, airport concessionaires recycled more than 1,200 tons of material – an amount equivalent to the weight of six Boeing 747 aircraft.  During the same period, they avoided disposal costs and generated revenue through rebates on recyclables which totaled $160,000. Sea-Tac concessionaires made waste reduction and recycling a priority by recycling cardboard, used cooking oil, food waste and coffee grounds. Since 2001, Sea-Tac concessionaires diverted thousands of tons of recyclable material from landfills through recycling, composting, and food bank donation programs. Concessionaires donated food that served 8,000 meals to needy families in 2008.

Sea-Tac’s recycling programs are even estimated to have prevented the release of Greenhouse Gas emissions equivalent to removing 819 passenger cars from the road annually; conserved an amount of energy equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 83 households (USEPA Waste Reduction Model), and saved 3,700 cubic yards of landfill space.

The purpose of the Airport Concessions Contest is to inspire creativity in the industry and to recognize innovative and outstanding airport concessions. These awards help to demonstrate the growing importance of concessions to the total airport experience. This year’s contest received more than 160 nominations from airports of all sizes throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Here are the results of the categories involving Sea-Tac Airport:

  • Best “Green” Concession Practice or Concept 
1st Place: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 
2nd Place: C-Pier Expansion, Vancouver International Airport
3rd Place: Concourse D, Portland International Airport
Honorable Mention: Enroute Spa, Indianapolis International Airport
  • Best Convenience Retail Program – Large Airport 
1st Place: Atrium, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport
2nd Place: Seattle Tacoma International Airport

Entries for this year’s contest were judged by an independent panel comprised of high-level professionals with no vested interest in concession operations, or the outcome of any one airport. In addition to the independent panel, one representative from the previous year’s overall winner was also involved in the judging process.

Previously, Sea-Tac Airport won the Richard A. Griesbach Award of Excellence in 2007 recognizing the Best Food and Beverage Program in North America. That year, three additional awards were won by Sea-Tac and its merchants: 1st place, Best Specialty Retail Program, 2nd place, Best New Food and Beverage Concept [Waji’s], and 2nd place, Best New Consumer Services Concept [butter LONDON].

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