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August 16–19, 2020

Please note that this is a tentative schedule and items are subject to change. 

Sustainability and Safety during COVID-19

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 8:30 AM–10:00 AM PDT add to calendar
Room 3


Session Description

SFO, San Diego airports and Alaska Airlines will be talking about their zero waste programs, how they have been impacted, what they are doing to try and maintain these programs, and other shifts they have had to make to manage health and safety orders from COVID-19.



Joanne Yee, San Francisco International Airport

Environmental Compliance & Zero Waste Specialist

Speaker Biography

Joanne Yee is the Environmental Compliance and Zero Waste Specialist at San Francisco International Airport’s Sustainability & Environmental Policy Division. She wears two hats, one of which is to manage the Airport’s environmental management system to monitor SFO’s environmental compliance portfolio. The other hat is implementation of materials management tasks, which include the solid waste hauling contract, Zero Waste Concessions Program, SFO Unites Against Hunger Program, and various elements of the Zero Waste Plan, in collaboration with the Airport’s Environmental Operations Division. 

Abstract Title

Sustainability at SFO and COVID-19 Impacts

Speaker Abstract

The SFO Airport has huge climate and sustainability goals, including their goal to attain zero: zero carbon, zero waste and zero net energy. SFO’s objective, as outlined in its 5-Year Strategic Plan, is to be the first Airport in the world to achieve triple zero. Despite being one of the fastest-growing airports in the United States, SFO successfully curtailed its emissions by 39% from a 1990 baseline, in addition to reducing per-passenger water use by 22.5% below 2013 levels and campus wide natural gas use by 10%. In Calendar Year 2019, SFO served a record 57.6 million passengers, which has reduced significantly due to COVID-19. This session will review some of the programs that make SFO a sustainable airport and the recent impacts of COVID-19. 

Kirk Myers, Alaska Airlines

Director of Sustainability

Speaker Biography

Kirk Myers is the Director of Sustainability for Alaska Airlines and works to develop and implement sustainable business strategies that drive efficiency, innovation, and environmental benefit. His main focuses are sustainability strategy, climate change, green building, and core business practices such as energy use and zero-waste.

Abstract Title

Making change in sustainability as an airline

Speaker Abstract

To the people of Alaska Airlines, the Pacific Northwest is so much more than a destination--it’s where we live, where we grew up, and where we play. Because of this, we are motivated to keep it pristine, and have chosen to take on sustainability enhancements that are important to the environment, our communities, and the advancement of the airline industry. Some of the items that will be discussed during this session include:

  • Alaska Airlines serves up 37,000 cups of coffee a day on its more than 900 daily flights, brewed using more than 250,000 pounds of Starbucks coffee each year. They focus on composting or recycling as much as they can.
  • Encourages guests and employees to bring their own water bottles and become active partners in the airline’s goal to reduce single-use plastics.
  • Powering all flights by all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation biofuel.
  • Emissions from planes and equipment
  • Waste from flights and other facilities
  • Consumption of non-sustainable resources
  • Energy use in our buildings
Katherine Altobello-Czescik, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Planning & Environmental Affairs Dept

Environmentalist Specialist

Speaker Biography

Katie Altobello-Czescik works as an Environmental Specialist in the Planning & Environmental Affairs Department of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and is a certified TRUE Advisor. At San Diego International Airport, Katie focuses on effective waste management and reduction, sustainable energy, water stewardship, community outreach, and tenant and employee engagement.

Katie graduated from Columbia University with her Masters of Pubic Administration in Environmental Science and Policy. She also successfully completed her B.A. in Political Science at Loyola Marymount University. She is a current member of Leaders 2020 and a recent graduate of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute. Her previous roles include Zero Waste Professional Assistant with the City of Oceanside, Climate Corps Fellow with Environmental Defense Fund and the City of Fresno, and Policy Intern for WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Katie is passionate about the environment, effective public policy, the San Diego region and its good food.

Abstract Title

COVID-19 Impacts on Operations and Waste Management at San Diego International Airport

Speaker Abstract

An effective waste management program for a large venue has its challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects on the transportation/aviation industry and the operations of airports. This presentation will highlight how San Diego International Airport (SAN) has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, how the organization has adapted, and how the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s robust waste management program has changed in response. Additionally, the presentation will dive into the Airport Authority Zero Waste Plan, our goals, and the initiatives in place to achieve them. The presentation will discuss the Airport’s diversion rate, employee engagement efforts like education and collection events, special employee/passenger programs, material streams, waste-related logistics, and related challenges.


Tracie Bills, SCS Engineers

Northern California Director Sustainable Materials Management