Honda manufacturing facilities achieve zero waste to landfill
Honda has announced that 10 of 14 Honda manufacturing
plants in North America are now operating with zero waste to
landfill, while the remaining 4 plants are functioning with “virtually
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama became the first zero waste-to-landfill
auto plant in North America at the outset of production in 2001,
setting off a trend within the company. Honda Manufacturing of
Indiana also started production as a zero waste-to-landfill plant
Waste sent to landfills has been dramatically reduced at Honda
auto plants throughout North America – from 62.8 pounds of industrial
waste to landfills for every automobile produced in the fiscal
year (FY) ended March 31, 2001, to an estimated 1.8 pounds per
automobile in the current fiscal year 2012. Among all of its
14 plants in North America, Honda now sends less than one-half
of 1 percent of all operating waste to landfills. Remaining waste
product is either recycled or used for energy recovery.
Since the establishment of zero waste-to-landfill production
in its Alabama plant in 2001, Honda has undertaken a major initiative
at plants throughout the region to eliminate landfill waste.
To understand what comprised each plant’s landfill waste, Honda
associates went “dumpster diving,” looking at the composition
of the waste material resulting from all of its production activities.
On the basis of these findings and subsequent investigations,
Honda associates at all 14 plants in North America have identified
and implemented hundreds of waste-reduction and waste-recycling
initiatives. These initiatives run the gamut, from the reduction
of offal (metal scrap) in stamping processes, to improved parts
packaging for ease of recycling, to the minimization of paper
and plastic waste from cafeterias. As a result of these efforts
over the past 10 years, the company has prevented an estimated
4.4 billion pounds of waste material from being sent to landfills,
which is equivalent to the amount of household waste produced
by 2.8 million Americans, roughly the population of Chicago,
in a single year.
Many of the waste-reduction and recycling activities were undertaken
through Honda’s associate involvement programs, including its
“NH Circle” quality circles, where teams of associates throughout
the company engage in an annual competition to improve Honda’s
value to its customers and society, with a strong focus on efficiency,
cost and waste reduction.
Examples of Honda associates’ waste reduction initiatives include:
•Engine plants in Ohio, Alabama and Canada are reusing virtually
all leftover sand from aluminum and ferrous metal casting operations.
In FY2010, the 3 plants recycled a total of 9,400 tons of sand,
which is used as mulch and landscaping material, and in concrete
•No steel scrap from North American manufacturing operations
has been going to landfills. In one example of Honda’s effort
to reduce steel scrap, in FY2009, the Marysville Auto Plant initiated
a program to reduce the amount of offal by reducing the size
of steel sheets used to stamp new body parts. The program, which
significantly reduces the environmental impact of transporting
and recycling the steel, is now being adopted by other Honda
factories in North America including the Canada, Indiana and
East Liberty, Ohio, auto plants, and is being considered by other
Honda plants around the world.
•In FY2008, Honda Power Equipment in Swepsonville, North Carolina,
initiated a closed-loop system for recycling aluminum scrap from
the machining trimming process, melting the scrap into ingots
that are recycled into die-cast operations.
•The East Liberty, Ohio, auto plant built a recycling bin for
bolts, other unused fasteners and parts packaging, enabling the
factory to recycle more than 22 tons of steel each year.
•Within the past year, all four Honda plants in Ohio completed
their initiative to eliminate more than 500 metric tons of cafeteria
waste produced annually. The plants joined with other Honda plants
in North America in transitioning to washable dishware and to
disposing of solid waste through composting, recycling and energy
•The Timmonsville, South Carolina, powersports plant recycles
hard plastic foam, sheet plastic foam and other recyclable plastics
from incoming parts shipments, diverting more than 130 tons of
plastic from landfills each year.
•The Marysville and East Liberty, Ohio, plants also recently
began washing and reusing thousands of plastic caps each day
that are used to protect parts during shipping.
The only two remaining landfill waste streams in all of Honda’s
North American production activities are: (1) paper, plastic
and food waste from associate break rooms and cafeterias at Honda’s
Mexico automobile and motorcycle plants, where there exists no
more environmentally responsible means of disposal; and (2) a
byproduct of the paint pretreatment process for aluminum body
panels at both the East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio, auto plants,
which, due to EPA regulations, is non-recyclable. Honda is working
with the EPA to identify an alternative means of disposal.