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The Green Guide to Sustainable Travel

July 20, 2021

The Port of Seattle’s goal is to be the greenest and most energy-efficient airport and seaport in North America. Despite the impact of the pandemic on budgets around the world, we are continuing to move toward that goal, prioritizing our sustainability investments and programs at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). 

And here’s what SEA and our partners are doing to get there:

  • Reaching our goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent almost a decade early by upgrading the airport’s heating and bus fleet fuel to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), a low-carbon natural gas alternative that can be produced from landfill waste, wastewater treatment plants, or dairy farms
  • Launching the Sustainable Project Framework to transparently evaluate alternative environmentally-friendly approaches to design and build new infrastructure
  • Keeping nearly 75 percent of the construction waste from the North Satellite out of the landfill, totaling 20,000 tons. If a blue whale, the largest animal on earth, weighs about 200 tons, the diverted waste equals about 100 blue whales!
  • Using rainwater collected from the roof to flush the toilets in the North Satellite, saving 2.8 million gallons of potable water annually! 
  • Designing and building the North Satellite Modernization project to earn a LEED Silver certification
  • Setting an aggressive goal to power every flight fueled at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2028
  • Recycling and composting about one-third of the airport trash
  • Using silverware and compostable plates, donating leftover food, and recycling glass and cardboard in many airport restaurants 
  • Signing a new agreement with TNCs like Uber and Lyft to reduce carbon emissions even further by increasing the number of electric vehicles in their fleets. 
  • Through a $1.2 million grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, installing 10 fast-charge EV charging stations in the SEA Airport transportation networking company (TNCs) /taxi holding lot, providing thousands of drivers with convenient access to EV charging stations
  • Using 300 electric ground support vehicles on the passenger terminal ramps to reduce emissions and pollution
  • Implementing energy efficiency measures like LED lights, heat exchanges, chillers, and air handlers that save 43.2. million kWh/year 
  • Building an energy efficient and LEED-certified Rental Car Facility 

And here’s how you can help when you’re traveling:

Tip 1:     Choose public transportation or ride sharing to and from the airport

  • Link Light Rail provides reliable service to downtown Seattle in about 40 minutes, and there is space for luggage storage and a couple of bikes in every car
  • Share your ride with other passengers by carpooling with friends and family who are also traveling, or using an app-based ridesharing service or airport shuttle service
  • Use Sound Transit’s Trip Planner to explore transit and bus options throughout Puget Sound

Tip 2:     Offset your flight’s carbon emissions 

The reality of modern life is that we all need to get from one place to another. But we can help offset the impact of air or road travel through companies like The Good Traveler. Just $2 offsets 1,000 miles! This money pays for projects that help restore climate balance like growing living things that capture carbon, producing clean wind energy, or capturing the methane from landfills. Did you know that the Port of Seattle offsets all of their business air travel every year? Talk to your employer about paying to offset employee business travel. 

Tip 3:     Save paper

  • Use digital boarding passes on your mobile device
  • Travel with a bandanna to sop up spills and use as a napkin

Tip 4:    Bring a refillable water bottle

  • Remember to pour out liquids before going through security and fill it afterwards at one of the Airport’s many filling stations 
  • Use the beverage drain stations at security checkpoints to empty your drink bottles
  • Download the Sea-Tac App and search for “water refill station” on the interactive map to find the one closest to you

Tip 5:       Recycle and compost your waste in the terminal and onboard your flight

Did you know that one-third of the trash generated at the airport is kept out of the landfill through Sea-Tac Airport’s waste management program?  Help us continue and grow this program by properly sorting your trash every time you visit.

Tip 6:      Say “no thanks” to bags when purchasing at the airport

Pack your purchases and snacks in a backpack instead

Tip 7:     Check TSA regulations before you pack

Don't bring restricted items through security that may end up in the trash bins

Tip 8:     Select lodging options with good walkability or access to bus and transit operations

You will get to experience the local community and you will get your steps in for the day!

Tip 9:     Buy local

Enjoy foods and merchandise from our local and small business vendors at the airport. They travel fewer miles to get to you. 

Tip 10:     Fly nonstop if you have a choice

According to NASA, the largest sources of airplane emissions are takeoff, landing, and taxiing. So getting to where you are going more quickly and efficiently helps both you and the earth. 

Want to know how you can travel green? Follow #SustainableSeaTac on social media.
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