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As part of the initiative, the company announced 33 global operations have recently reached landfill-free status, bringing the company’s current total number of landfill-free manufacturing operations to 43.
“Through innovation and commitment, GM is accelerating our efforts to be a leader in finding solutions to the environmental issues facing our world,” said Gary Cowger, GM group vice president of global manufacturing and labor. “As we develop new solutions in vehicle propulsion, GM is also making significant progress in reducing the impact our worldwide facilities have on the environment.”
At GM’s landfill-free plants, over 96 percent of waste materials are recycled or reused and more than 3 percent is converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities. Eliminating waste to this degree is a GM manufacturing priority.
Not only does this initiative help the environment, it helps the company’s bottom line. As a result of the company’s global recycling efforts, recycled metal scrap sales are approaching $1 billion in annual revenue. Additionally, in North America alone, GM will generate about $16 million in revenue from the sale of recycled cardboard, wood, oil, plastic and other recycled materials.
More than 3 million tons of waste materials will be recycled or reused from General Motors plants worldwide this year. An additional 50,000 tons will be converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities. Some of the materials recycled at GM’s zero landfill sites this year include 630,000 tons of scrap metal, 8,000 tons of wood, 7,500 tons of cardboard and 1,200 tons of plastic. These numbers will increase as additional manufacturing facilities reach zero landfill status.
Waste elimination and recycling at GM’s landfill-free plants and other facilities will prevent 3.65 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere this year. Additionally, recycling materials to make new products reduces energy use and manufacturing costs, compared to using raw materials.
GM’s 43 manufacturing operations that have reached land-fill free status are:
Kaiserlautern, Germany - Stamping
Flint, Mich., - Engine South
(note: facilities in bold are the 33 additional facilities announced as recently reaching landfill-free status)
Part of the challenge in reaching landfill-free status is finding uses for recyclable materials. At GM’s land-fill free plants, even the smallest piece of waste is put to a good use. Waste aluminum generated at GM facilities is sent to GM foundries to be reused to produce engine and transmission components. Steel, alloy metals, and paper are sent to recyclers to be made into a variety of products. Used oil is reconditioned for reuse in GM facilities. Wood pallets are reused, rebuilt or ground into landscape chips or sent to waste-to-energy facilities. Empty drums, totes and containers are refurbished and reused again and again. Cardboard is collected, compacted and sold for making new cardboard materials.