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2009 Mexican Eco-Blogging Green Adventure Goodbye Chicago! Hello Mexico!

Posted Mar 21 2009 4:00pm

Shawna at OHare small Before dawn I awake with an exuberance and energy hereby only recognized by Elmo of Sesame Street fame – today’s the big day – my family and I are off on our journey to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Along the way I will be reporting on green lifestyle concerns and eco-adventures like jungle zip-lining, snorkeling, cave spelunking, and so much more – and you get to come along with on this 14 day straight blogging adventure. Woo woo!

First stop? O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, Illinois. My family and I will be traveling all day with a transfer in Miami – here’s a picture of of my husband, Luis and our youngest daughter. Sadly, we had to leave our teen and our pug, Harry, behind this year. We will My Little Family small miss our other half. Lots of traveling today - it will be a late night tonight when we arrive at the  Cancun airport!

When I think of O’Hare, I do not think of flying – I think of people. Yearly, there is over 881,566 aircraft operations with an average of 2,409 per day. Close to 70 million people per year travel through the airport. 70 MILLION!?!?! Imagine how many toilet flushes that is. Imagine how much paper, cans, and plastic bottles are used and thrown away there. The good news? As we walked through O’Hare, we saw lots of recycle bins. O’Hare’s recycling program is substantial, with a focus on paper, plastic, and metals. Susan Goyette of the HMS Host food services said that 264 tons of cardboard is recycled annually at O’Hare. Grease from fryers is also recycled with 125,000 pounds gathered yearly.

You can imagine that doing something simple to be “green” has a huge impact with so many people flowing through O’Hare annually, and Susan said one simple plan is to introduce a new “to go bag” for all food services. Chicago Recycles small This bag is degradable and the program will be launched this year. Way to go O’Hare!!

The bigger question regarding airport recycling is what happens to all the food waste at the airport? I contacted the public relations department at O’Hare and the representative I spoke with promised to get back to me with information regarding what all happens with the food waste at O’Hare. However, she never returned her promised call. I called many times and left messages after I spoke with the representative the first time, but mysteriously never got a response to this question. Frustrating, as I wanted to see if I could find a way to make a difference.

You see, with 70 million people coming through the system yearly, food waste must be in the tons. At the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 8,000 tons of food waste produced yearly is converted to methane gas which is then recycled and turned into electricity. Hong Kong airport gardeners recycle 60 tons of food waste annually to produce compost for the airport landscaping. Amazing! Why isn’t this happening at O’Hare?

I challenge O’Hare Airport and the people of Chicago to come up with a workable solution to the food waste issue – maybe if we all work together we can find a solution to help management at O’Hare do something awesome to help reduce landfill waste and help benefit our community.

If we all work together we can make a difference! Can anyone or any company help me with a good solution? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think and if you feel there is an easily reached solution to help the City of Chicago.


Remember to enter these three contests which are going on only as long as the 14 day Gardening Nude 2009 Mexican Eco-Blogging Green Adventure - - link through below and follow the blog to win BIG -

“WIN A $100 Gift Certificate from Boston Proper” Contest!!!

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“WIN A $299 Olympus Tough-6000 Waterproof Camera Contest!!!”


Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!, The Green Blog -, or The Garden Blog -

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