Boeing’s Plan for Old Parts as Gifts Will Thrill Hobby Enthusiasts
Aerospace company's new program sells old parts online in an innovative recycling program
In the past quarter century, recycling has moved from a new concept reserved mostly to hippies to something most people do, but new variations on the themes recycling and upcycling keep popping up. The newest twist in industrial recycling is Boeing’s new addition to their “Custom Hangar” online gift shop.
Starting this holiday season, Boeing is making vintage parts from their airplanes available for sale on the website. You can now buy engine blades from various models for $200 to $400, windows from 747s and 767s for $600, a table made from the core of a jet engine for $9,600, the control stick from a P-51 Mustang fighter for $1,250, a full galley beverage cart for $1,900 and similar pieces of air travel engineering and history.
Holiday gifting for aerospace enthusiasts and engineering buffs are a natural fit for these new offerings, but Boeing is having trouble keeping the items in stock because of how many other customers are buying up the items. Artists with enough budget are picking them up for inclusion in sculptures and similar installations. Interior decorators are making them part of home schemes even for customers who aren’t airplane fans. The price points are too high for people to buy just because they want to encourage industrial recycling, but that aspect has been the focus of most media attention on Boeing’s move.
Industrial metal recycling is old and well-established, so the aluminum and steel in the parts would otherwise have been melted down and sold as scrap. But the other pieces — the plastic in the beverage cart wheels or the carpet fibers in the seat covers — are toxic to burn and difficult to recycle. Previously, they wound up in landfills. If Boeing’s vintage parts sales continues to succeed, their new home will make the new owners and the environment happy.