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Recycled airport pavements for achieving environmental sustainability: An Italian case study

Giustozzi, Filippo, Toraldo, Emanuele, Crispino, Maurizio
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2012 v.68 pp. 67-75
air, aircraft, airports, case studies, cold, cost effectiveness, ecological footprint, emissions, environmental assessment, environmental impact, issues and policy, recycled materials, safety standards, traffic, washing, water reuse, winter
Both the design and the construction of airfield pavements have to be consistent with strict requirements and constraints and also higher safety standards due to their particular setting. In addition, maintenance and construction times must be minimized in order to avoid delays and limitations on airport capacity. Maintaining or constructing airfield pavements also entails working during all-weather conditions (e.g. winter time and heavy cold conditions); materials adopted therefore play a major role in the success of the maintenance or construction activity. Environmental management plans and eco-friendly policies and strategies are increasingly being adopted by airport directors. Noise reduction plans through improved air traffic management techniques, emissions control for aircraft engines and ground maneuvering vehicles, reuse of water for washing airfield pavements, use of renewable energies, and use of photocatalytic materials are only some of the numerous ways of achieving a sustainable airport. The paper focuses on construction techniques and the development of innovative materials for the achievement of environmental sustainability on airfield pavements. In particular, the authors present how a long lasting and well performing airport pavement can be built if more than 85% of the materials used are recycled materials. The environmental analysis of a case study on a major Italian airport shows that the release of almost 35% of emissions could be avoided if recycling practices are taken into account. Furthermore, pavement performance is analyzed and monitored as well in order to show that recycling does not necessarily result in lower performance. Outcomes clearly suggest that the recycled airport pavement has a comparable performance and less of an environmental impact on standard airfield pavements. Moreover, results can be implemented into an Airport Pavement Management System to assess the best strategy, considering the environmental footprint in addition to the traditional performance analysis and cost effectiveness.