The Link between Airports and Sea World

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At the 2010 ACI-NA Marketing and Communications Conference in San Diego, attendees were treated to an inspiring presentation from Marilyn Hannes, vice president of Marketing for Sea World.

Upon first blush, the parallels between theme parks and airports are not entirely obvious. However, as Marilyn explained, both entities have a desire and a self-induced obligation to go green and to involve their local communities in their efforts.

As the recipient of the 2009 City of San Diego’s Waste Reduction and Diversion Award for 14 years in a row, Sea World offers numerous programs and initiatives that can be copied and pasted into the airport model:

1. Sea World not only recycles more than 50 percent of all its waste, including animal and construction waste, and more than 20,000 pounds of food is recycled from Sea World’s culinary operations.

Marilyn’s Tip for Airports: Collect the food leftovers from the concessionaires and donate the remains to the local humane society.

2. Sea World has placed 4,000 low-flow irrigation nozzles on its landscape property and has increased its use of drip irrigation.

Marilyn’s Tip for Airports: This is an expensive and intensive process. However, implementing this water conservation effort can actually save you money on your utility bill. Sea World has reduced its irrigation water use by 20 percent.

3. Sea World has held six community recycling events in the last two years where hundreds of thousands of pounds in recyclable materials were collected and recycled.

Marilyn’s Tip for Airports: Get your community engaged by holding green events. Get the local youth involved by starting an essay contest on protecting and preserving the environment.

These are just a few examples of the efforts that Sea World has taken to go green, and just a few ideas that airports could consider. Check ACI-NA’s website in a week or so to see Marilyn’s full presentation and others from the event.
-Victoria Houghton