Waste management

The issue of waste management has become increasingly important in recent years with increased consumption and urbanisation, which has resulted in a greater production of waste and reduced inhabited areas in which it may be treated or deposited. Given the impact of waste management on human health and the protection of the environment, it is increasingly important to reduce its production and its impact on nature. 

SEA’s involvement concerns the management of the waste disposal cycle, from collection until disposal.

Airport waste management

Waste produced through airport office management, aircraft cleaning, infrastructure maintenance and commercial and catering activity are largely in line with that produced in general urban areas and are broken down into:

  • municipal solid waste: waste generated from the airport and ancillary building cleaning activities and includes also waste from aircraft cleaning. This waste is collected in dumpsters and bins, appropriately distributed across the airport and disposed of by companies appointed by the relevant regional administrations. Municipal solid waste concerns the dry portion and the separated portions. The dry portion of municipal solid waste is disposed of through incineration with energy recovery, while the separated portions are allocated for recovery in appropriate plant;
  • special hazardous and non-hazardous waste: from SEA maintenance activity. They are divided into hazardous (for example: exhaust oil, oily emissions, lead and nickel-cadmium batteries, oil and gas filters, sanitary waste, fluorescent bulbs, etc.) and non-hazardous (for example: scrap iron, disposed medicines, alkaline batteries etc.). Special waste (both hazardous and non-hazardous) is, where technically possible, recycled;
  • organic waste: comprising waste from meals consumed by passengers on board aircraft; it is managed, and subsequently disposed of, directly by the catering companies and not handled by the airport manager.

Waste by type (tonnes)

Waste by type (tonnes)

Waste by type - Malpensa

Source: SEA

The total waste production for Linate for 2014 was 2,529 tons, reporting a decrease of 3.3%, while for Malpensa airport the total production was 5,519 tons with an increase of 4.6% compared to 2013.

Separated collection

In 2014 the SEA Group confirmed its commitment to the separated collection of municipal solid waste at the Linate and Malpensa airports. Currently, separated collection is implemented for: paper, cardboard, wood, glass, plastic, metal, toner, organic waste. Separated waste management was introduced also to the areas of the airport open to the public. 

Separated waste (tonnes)


Separated waste - Linate


Separated waste - Malpensa

Source: SEA

All special waste produced is separated by type, with specific contracts with companies authorised for the management of such (for example: IT equipment, oils, emulsions, irons, paints, etc.). It is therefore entirely separated by type and disposed of, recycled according to the applicable regulations and the technological standards of the treatment plant to which it is conferred. In order to further mitigate the environmental impact, the SEA Group has structured and is implementing a series of projects with a view to developing separated collection in terms of:

  • the gradual improvement of waste quality (reduction of impurities in the various collected items);
  • the improvement of the quality of collection at public spaces, requiring continued initiatives to increase passenger awareness on the issue;
  • the promotion of strategies focused on improving the quality of waste coming from the internal “cleaning” of aircraft.

Separated waste management for Linate totalled 50.5% and 33.9% for Malpensa, also considering the waste management of special waste. For the previous years, the respective figures were 47.9% and 34.2% for 2013 and 43.0% and 34.5% for 2012.

Following these actions, the separated waste management at Linate increased, while remaining substantially in line at Malpensa.

Waste disposal methods

The disposal methods for the various types of waste, as established by regulation (attachments B and C of Legislative Decree 152/2006) are reported in the following tables:

Linate – Waste disposal methods (tonnes)

Disposal/recovery method20142013
Land incineration (D10) 1,254 1,362
Held for allocation for one of the operations indicated at points R1 to R12 (R13) 747 796
Recycling/recovery of organic substances not utilised as solvents (including compost and other organic conversion processes) (R3) 175 156
Preliminary depositing of waste for allocation to one of the operations indicated from points D1 to D14 (D15) 151 72
Preliminary reconditioning before one of the operations from points D1 to D13 (D14) - 2
Organic treatment not specified elsewhere in the present attachment, resulting in the production of compost or mixing, which is eliminated according to one of the processes listed at points D1 to D12 (D8) 60 225

Malpensa – Waste disposal method (tonnes)

Disposal/recovery method20142013
Land incineration (D10) 3,656 3,477
Held for allocation for one of the operations indicated at points R1 to R12 (R13) 1,730 1,616
Recycling/recovery of organic substances not utilised as solvents (including compost and other organic conversion processes) (R3) - 109
Preliminary depositing of waste for allocation to one of the operations indicated from points D1 to D14 (D15) 133 76

Note: The information was received from providers of the service

The dry residual portion of urban waste produced at both airports is disposed of in energy recovery thermal-destruction plant; the separated portion of waste is however allocated to specific recovery and recycling plant (disposal collection and transport or recovery by the Municipality).

Special waste is principally allocated, based on its specific characteristics, to recovery plant; for waste with characteristics not suitable for recovery (for example: drainage outflow), the waste is allocated to final disposal plant (disposal collection or transport or recovery by specialised/authorised companies).

The ecological islands of Linate and Malpensa

For both airports, efficient ecological islands have been designed. At Linate, the ecological/environmental infrastructure has been constructed and for many years has received from the relevant institutional bodies the necessary authorisations for the use of plant and the management of special waste. At Malpensa, also following the significant reduction in traffic, an innovative review process of the air-side collection options is underway, which relies on the existing ecological platform as a fundamental basis of its success.