Canadian Consulting Engineer

Pearson International: Waste Handling and Delivery Logistics

In an airport the size of Pearson, handling and distributing materials -- be they for consumption, or as waste -- becomes a huge logistical problem. Trow Associates helped the Greater Toronto Airports...

August 1, 2003  Canadian Consulting Engineer

In an airport the size of Pearson, handling and distributing materials — be they for consumption, or as waste — becomes a huge logistical problem. Trow Associates helped the Greater Toronto Airports Authority devise a program to make order out of the potential chaos.

Trow first helped design the waste collection system in the new terminal — a building that is roughly two kilometres in length and expected to generate 20 tonnes of waste per day. For health reasons the Airport Authority wanted to avoid using the service elevators for transferring garbage. The system instead uses a series of dual chutes to convey garbage and recyclables down to nodal collection stations. There will be eight nodes in the building where the separated waste and recyclables are each agglomerated in separate bins. From there the bins are transferred on trailers along specified service corridors to a main waste room. Another important aspect of the waste management strategy was setting protocols that require tenants to reduce their non-recyclable packaging materials.

The Airport Authority then asked Trow to help them organize a logistics system for handling incoming materials. The system not only services retail tenants, but also the airlines, government agencies and airport maintenance, so that everything from lightbulbs to coffee to chairs to boarding pass paper is handled by the system within a 24 to 48-hour period.

When envisioned, the program was to serve new Terminal 1. However, after 9/11 the Airport Authority decided to expand the system and it also services Terminal 3 and the temporary infield terminal.

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The 45,000 s.f. automated logistics centre is located in the new Cargo 2 building on the east side of the airport. Incoming trucks deliver their goods to this one centre. A goal of the program is to reduce truck queuing, which could save emissions equal to those used in 1,000 plane take-offs and landings per year.

Prime consultant: Trow Associates (Eric Hopkins, P.Eng., Sandra Minatel, P.Eng.)

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