Juan Santamaría Airport recycled two tons of objects collected from passengers during the first four months of 2022. This has been possible thanks to the Integrated Waste Management Program, which provides better disposal of items that do not pass through the air terminal’s security filters.
In total, 1984 kilograms (kg) of waste were recycled: 149.5 kg in January, 418.5 kg in February, 566 kg in March, and 850 kg in April.
According to Aeris, the airport administrator company, these objects include water bottles, liquor, creams, and perfumes. Previously, these objects were sent to the sanitary landfill.
“We are committed to offering a healthy and sustainable environment in our facilities, promoting continuous improvement in all our processes and environmental practices, encouraging waste management as a strategic business practice, in compliance with the requirements of national regulations,” said Adriana Bejarano, head of Environment, Health and Safety at Aeris.
The plastic materials are sent to a mill, which are crushed and converted into small resin balls and then used to make new bottles or gallons.
Plastics containing creams, shampoos, sunscreens, or gels can only be recycled if the container is completely clean and dry. If the plastic is not in such condition, it is taken to a cement company, which uses it to generate energy or create cement after a particular procedure.
As for glass, bottles should be separated depending on whether they are colored or transparent. These are then melted at high temperatures and finally converted into new bottles.
Unfortunately, no company in Costa Rica provides adequate treatment for aluminum. Therefore, the objects made of this material are transported to a collection center, where they are exported to receive the necessary procedure.
On the other hand, passengers leave many items behind and do not claim them. For example, neck pillows, bottles, coats, tools, caps, and hats are left at the airport. According to Aeris, in most cases, they are donated.
“Since many of these items are not claimed by their owners, they are donated so that they can be used by others for whom they are needed. We see this as a way of contributing to other institutions and giving these items a second chance, rather than just storing or discarding them,” added Adriana Bejarano.
The procedure with these objects begins with the compilation of a register by the Airport Police, who prepare this inventory daily.
They are then transferred to the Operations office, where the owners have 15 days to claim their belongings. If the items are not claimed within that period, they are stored in a warehouse, where it will be determined whether they will be donated or disposed of.
Aeris reminded that in case of lost and found, please contact the Operations office at 2437-2610 or write to [email protected]