Lufthansa and Fraport recycle up to 4 million PET bottles annually

In a move that is making a sustainable contribution to climate and environmental protection, Fraport and Lufthansa have teamed up to transfer recyclable PET bottles directly from the aircraft into a sustainable and closed recycling loop. Frankfurt Airport is the first airport in Europe involved with this process. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is the name of a clear, strong, lightweight and 100% recyclable plastic. Lufthansa and Fraport, together with Hassia Mineralquellen, a company that markets some of the finest mineral waters of Germany, intensely tested a closed loop recycling project in late 2021 and upon a successful completion, immediately transferred it to regular operation in Frankfurt.

Bottles are 100 percent recycled

Around 60 percent of the waste weight from an aircraft is accounted for by returned PET bottles and their contents. These bottles are collected separately, after landing, and handed over to Hassia Mineralquellen, which integrates the bottles into its own recycling process. The recovered PET granulate is then used to make new bottle blanks, which are filled with beverages again. This means that the collected PET bottles are 100 percent recycled.

Based on Lufthansa’s current air traffic volume, it is expected that around four million PET bottles weighing 72 tons can be collected this year alone. Based on flight movements and the load factor for 2019, the project partners could collect up to 10 million PET bottles per year in the future.