Tulsa's American Airline Facility Going Green

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014, 6:37 pm
By: News On 6

American Airlines is going green by changing how the company disposes of trash. The big announcement was made on Earth Day at the American Airlines Tulsa Wheel and Brake Center.

Tulsa's American facility is a trendsetter. This is the company's first location in the country to eliminate landfill waste. The process takes several steps, but they showed us how it's being done.

The 25,000 tires that land at the Tulsa plant are taken apart. It's industry standard to scrap the unusable metal pieces. Then they get a bath of sorts, through a machine.

Tom Nelson with American Airlines said, "The water that we were using, we were running about 800 to 1,000 tons of wastewater and that would go out to a local landfill and just be dumped."

That filthy water would soak into the ground, but now, thanks to several community partnerships, American's plant waste is doing something wonderful. It begins at Covanta.

"It is a trash energy facility," Nelson said. "They are using our wastewater as quench water for their furnaces, which generates sellable steam for their electricity.

Meanwhile, wood pallets and any cardboard boxes used in the tire repair process are all combined and ground down in what is basically a state of the art garbage disposal.

That mulch is compressed and burned to make energy, which is better for the environment, and the company benefits.

"Triple win situation," Nelson said.

It is complicated and going green isn't cheap, but the focus isn't on cost.

"How do I leave as small as an environmental impact as possible and but as we go on in the future we will see considerable savings, substantial savings," said Nelson.

Of course people said this initiative to eliminate and recycle waste puts Tulsa on the map. The goal is to make this the industry standard.