Evaluation of recycling efforts of aircraft companies in Wichita

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Asmatulu, Eylem
Twomey, Janet M.
Overcash, Michael

Asmatulu, Eylem; Twomey, Janet M.; Overcash, Michael. 2013. Evaluation of recycling efforts of aircraft companies in Wichita. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, vol. 80, November 2013, ppg. 36–45


The number of manufactured aircraft has been continuously increasing worldwide because of the high demand for airline transportation. During manufacturing, many advanced materials and devices are used to build various sizes and shapes of aircraft. However, most of these materials and devices require considerable energy and labor to produce, so reusing these at any life stage of the aircraft offers many economic and environmental benefits, and is considered lucrative and environmentally responsible. Several recyclable materials—composites, metals and alloys, wires, wood, paper, plastics, electronics, and avionics—emerge as waste streams during the manufacturing of aircraft. Many aircraft companies have been recycling these materials to remanufacture aircraft parts or other products for more sustainable production. In the present study, we evaluated the recycling efforts of local aircraft companies in Wichita, KS. These efforts were considered in terms of recycling efficiency/rate and environmental benefits. These included cradle-to-gate (CTG) life-cycle inventory analysis of the materials, carbon dioxide emissions, virgin material replacement with recycled materials, and natural resources usage. Our findings show that there exists a significant potential for contributions to sustainability as well as environmental and health benefits in the region from recycling by aircraft manufacturing plants.

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