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ANA Future promise Society/Community Upcycling of aircraft tire stoppers ANA Future promise Society/Community Upcycling of aircraft tire stoppers

March 24, 2023

Saga Airport made ema* (votive picture tablet) by reusing scrap wood from aircraft tire stoppers, and distributed them to customers who were preparing for school entrance exams to pray for their success during January to February 2023. 

  • An ema is a small wooden plaque that you can buy at a shrine. You write a wish on it and usually hang it up at the shrine so your wish will come true.
    We would like to introduce an initiative to distribute ema made by Saga Airport staff to pray for success in passing the school entrance examination by "not slipping" or “not failing”, as tire stoppers are "to prevent aircraft from slipping".

Background and start of the initiative, the background of the activities

This initiative began in October 2022, when staff in charge of SDGs at Saga Airport wondered if the old aircraft tire stoppers could be reused or recycled in some way instead of becoming industrial waste. In the process of considering the reuse of tire stoppers, they learned of a past effort at Kansai Airport to create ema by reusing tire stoppers, and they began creating based on ideas from Kansai Airport with Saga Airport's original arrangement.

The ema was designed for customers to write their own wishes on and carry with them as a souvenir or good-luck charm. Also, it comes with a blue ribbon so that it can be hung up at the shrine. The ema was distributed to students preparing for entrance exams at universities, high schools, etc., as well as to customers and their families who are related to "success" in job hunting, examinations, etc. The staff members were united in their desire to give it to customers to express their gratitude to them.

About the Creation of Ema

 There are three main steps in the process of creating an ema.

First, an old aircraft tire stopper is sliced. Next, the surface is smoothed with sandpaper, including chamfering, and holes are made for the hanging string. Then, "Pray for success" is written on it with all their heart, and it is wrapped with an information card to complete the process.

In making the ema, they prepared seven 60-cm-long, 15-cm-wide, and 14-cm-high airplane tire stoppers that were to be discarded. From these, only 30 ema were finally determined to be ready to be given to the customer. The creation of ema was extremely difficult and the number of ema was smaller than they had imagined.

A particularly difficult process was slicing the tire stopper. Tire stoppers are used for about two years, during which time they are exposed to rain and wind and become damaged and no longer serve their purpose. When they consulted with employees' relatives and acquaintances who are carpenters and professional lumber makers to slice the tire stopper, they advised them that the tire stopper had cracks deep into the wood that would allow rainwater to seep in and that it would break if sliced thinly like a real ema due to the direction of the wood grain, etc. After much trial and error, they decided to slice it at a thickness of about 20mm. Some of the tire stoppers they had prepared were cracked and could not be used, so they were able to create about 100 pieces at the end of slicing, but only 30 pieces remained after sorting. In the next process of sanding the surface, two steps of sanding from coarse sandpaper to fine sandpaper were performed in that order, and chamfering was also performed. On the surface of the ema, a staff member with calligraphy experience nervously put his wishes for success in brush strokes. With the cooperation of the Airport Division of the Saga Prefectural Government, a stamp of Saga Airport was affixed, and a photo of the tire stopper actually in use was included on the enclosed information card to help customers visualize what it would look like before recycling.

In each step of the process, staff members participated by making the most of their strengths, and everyone worked hard to produce the 30 pieces of ema. 

Thoughts of the person in charge

Thank you for using ANA at the milestone of life. We made it with all our heart so that the customer's wishes will come true. We would be very happy if you could take the ema made with the meaning of gratitude for using it as one of the commemorations.

The ANA Group will continue to strive for the effective use of limited resources while valuing the awareness of each and every employee.

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