Doing more together for the environment

Munich Airport uses natural resources considerately, sparingly, and with a sense of responsibility toward future generations. Respectful exchange with the stakeholder groups is thus of major importance – including in relation to the topic of environmental management. Since 2005, Flughafen München GmbH has operated a certified environmental management system to the international standards of the ###GLOSSARY data-id=128###DIN EN ISO 14001###GLOSSARY### and the requirements of the EU regulation EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme). It supports those subsidiaries whose activities are of great environmental relevance as they introduce environmental management systems. Allresto, aerogate and Cargogate have all been successfully recertified already. In 2017, an external environmental audit confirmed FMG's certification for the next three years. It ensures that the sustainable development of the airport in accordance with EMAS also continues to be monitored by the environmental management system.

Environmental management system at the Group for 2017

Flughafen München GmbH Recertification EMAS
Allresto Successful surveillance audit EMAS
aerogate Successful surveillance audit EMAS
Cargogate Successful surveillance audit EMAS
AeroGround Introduction planned  
Certification according to the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and DIN ISO 14001

As passenger and freight handling requires the most resources at the airport, nine related key performance indicators reflect environmentally-relevant consumption values:

  • Water consumption
  • Heat consumption
  • Diesel consumption
  • Paper consumption
  • Quantity of wastewater
  • Quantity of waste
  • Carbon dioxide equivalents
  • Power consumption
  • Total energy consumption

Waste: high recycling rates

Flughafen München GmbH meets every single requirement in the German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act. The number one priority is to produce as little waste as possible. However, waste and scrap products are generated from the operation of the airport – across the board – and these are then collected where they occur in various separating systems, handed over to certified specialist businesses close to the airport, prepared in sorting plants, and then recycled. The small proportion of residual waste that cannot be recycled is converted by the Munich North power plant into district heat and power. Sustainable waste management contributes to generating secondary materials, while also helping to save on costs.

Paper consumption

In thousand sheets of paper

Resource conservation is everyone’s responsibility

Flughafen München GmbH is making continuous improvements to the entire process chain as well as to the process for separating and sorting all waste and scrap material. Consequently therefore a new plant has been shredding confidential data material promptly «in-house» since September 2017. This process guarantees a high level of data protection, as sensitive files need no longer be transported to the specialist disposal firm. All employees are called on to conserve resources. They can, for example, dispose of their light bulbs at work. The collection project for old cell phones is to start in 2018, as soon as the search for a suitable recycling partner has been completed. In 2017, to counteract the flood of waste from single-use coffee cups that has been widely discussed in the media of late, FMG distributed 3,000 reusable porcelain coffee-to-go cups to its staff in the airport's own design, in order to gain initial experience for a potential campus-wide introduction. Since 2016, Flughafen München GmbH has used exclusively recycled paper with the «Blue Angel» eco-label. New digital workflows, for example for business trip applications, also help to save paper.

Who causes what

The majority of waste and scrap material is generated by affiliated companies, the companies based at the airport as well as airlines. A custom-designed disposal concept tailored specifically to the party generating the waste is therefore essential for successful resource conservation: from the actual generation of the waste through to recycling and disposal. FMG therefore provides regular information on current waste topics, gives tips on environmentally friendly conduct, and is on hand to offer advice.

Waste hierarchy

Chart: Waste hierarchy

Disposal methods for waste

In tonnes

Chart: Disposal methods for waste

Increased construction, dismantling and renovation works lead to a higher quantity of waste than in the previous year. The recycling rate remained at a consistently high level.

A responsible approach to water

Process water instead of drinking water for air conditioning purposes

The aim of water management at Munich Airport is to affect the natural water balance as little as possible and arrange the various effects caused by water resource management, drainage, and the provision of drinking and extinguishing water so that they have as little impact as possible. Overall, FMG aims to achieve the following:

  • Separate waste water at the source, and treat and dispose of it separately
  • Only use drinking water where drinking water quality is really needed
  • Keep wastewater away from sealed surfaces so as to prevent peak run-off
  • Make sure the condition of the groundwater and bodies of water above ground is not impaired

For example, for some years now, quaternary groundwater close to the surface (process water) from the airport’s wells has been used for cooling in both power centers, west and east, instead of precious tertiary groundwater (drinking water). This led to a saving on drinking water of around 1,447,000 cubic meters by the end of 2017 in both process water wells. Preparatory building works have started on additional process water wells in a bid to save up to a further 50,000 cubic meters of drinking water a year over the next few years.

Overall, drinking water consumption at Munich Airport fell by 3.2 percent in 2017. This is because the airport takes an economical approach when handling drinking water. For every 1,000 ###GLOSSARY data-id=88###traffic units###GLOSSARY### (1,000 passengers or 100,000 kilograms of airfreight), specific drinking water consumption decreased further to 21 liters, compared to 23 in the previous year.

Total drinking water consumption 1), 2)

Chart: Total drinking water consumption
1) Includes all companies on the campus.
2) Values are derived as follows: Water metering in m3 measured at the drinking water feed points (transfer points) from the water utility company to Munich Airport.

Total wastewater discharge 1), 2)

Chart: Total wastewater discharge
1) Includes all companies on the campus.
2) The wastewater discharged to the sewage plant consists of domestic wastewater, industrial wastewater, mixed water, and de-icing waste.

Sophisticated wastewater disposal concept

A sewage system stretching for around 300 kilometers collects wastewater at Munich Airport. Depending on the level of contamination, the water is pretreated in the airport’s own plants, retained, added to bodies of water, or sent to the sewage plant in Eitting.

Wastewater disposal concept: various wastewater sources, their treatment, and disposal

Schaubild: Abwasserentsorgungskonzept

Ground biofiltration system meets expectations

Ground filters at the heads of the runways prevent de-icer from contaminating the ground water, if the wind blows it onto surrounding green areas. At the same time, they are used to retain and clean the collected waste de-icer. Depending on the level of contamination, it is routed to a body of water or – during harsh winters where lots of de-icer is used – sent straight to the sewage plant. Regular inspections of the groundwater using a TOC (Total Organic Carbon) measurement system prove that de-icing operations are not polluting the groundwater with organic substances thanks to the use of the ground biofiltration system. The filters at the northwestern and northeastern heads of the runways have already been in operation for some time; a further ground filter to the east of the southern runway was completed in 2017, while a fourth is currently under construction for the western part of the southern runway.

Aircraft de-icer cycle

De-icing vehicles keep aircraft free from ice and snow before take-off. The de-icer dripping off the aircraft during this process finds its way via slit drainage gutters and channels into underground basins. It is then mechanically and chemically treated in the airport’s own recycling plant, before being distilled and converted back to its original state with the use of additives. Munich Airport’s process for recycling de-icer is the only one of its kind in the world. The recycling rate for the active glycol component in de-icer was around 53 percent for the 2016/2017 season. The average for the last few years has ranged between 41 and a maximum of 59 percent – depending on the weather and taking into account a level of energy consumption suited to the environmental footprint.

Aircraft de-icer cycle