Half of GM plants to
be landfill-free by 2010
Thirty-three operations reach landfill-free status,
bringing current total to 43
General Motors (GM) announced a commitment to make
half of its major global manufacturing operations
landfill-free by the end of 2010. When translating
the commitment to an individual facility basis,
more than 80 of GM’s manufacturing operations will
become landfill-free over the next 28 months. GM
facilities achieve the landfill-free status when
all production waste or garbage is recycled or reused.
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.
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.
Over 3 million tons of waste materials will be recycled
or reused from GM 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.
Part of the challenge is finding uses for materials.
At GM’s landfill-free plants, even the smallest
piece of waste is put to a good use. Waste aluminum
generated at GM facilities is 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.