GM Adds Landfill-Free Facilities

GM recently added its 100th landfill-free facility – a parts distribution center in Lansing, Mich. It is a milestone in the company’s ongoing waste-reduction efforts.

GM said they first reduce waste and then focus on recycling and reuse. In 2011, it recycled or reused 2.6 million metric tons at its facilities worldwide. That is equivalent to more than 38 million trash bags. Or, more than a month’s worth of trash for every resident in New York City.

“Our landfill-free program continues to strengthen our business by creating efficiencies, generating revenue and inspiring innovation with products made from recycled content,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability and Global regulatory affairs.  “It’s a mission that’s integrated within our business processes. Everyone here plays a role in its success.”

GM began tracking its waste 15 years ago, and now works to improve its recycling each year. All of its worldwide facilities combined – including landfill-free plants and all others – recycle or reuse more than 90 percent of the waste they generate.

“One of GM’s secrets to success is its cultivation of a strong network of suppliers committed to recycling materials and keeping them in use,” said Steve Hellem, executive director of Suppliers Partnership for the Environment, a forum for automakers, suppliers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Their team regularly facilitates conversations, connects companies and even showcases creative recycling examples for others.”

In conjunction with its suppliers, GM recycles scrap cardboard from various plants into a sound absorber on the Buick Lacrosse and Verano interior roof. Air deflectors on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks are made with used tires from the automaker’s proving ground. GM regularly shares its recycling best practices with companies of all sizes and industries.

In its first sustainability report as a new company, GM committed to achieve 25 more landfill-free sites and reduce total waste by another 10 percent by 2020. Since 1997, the company has reduced total waste by at least 43 percent.

In 2011, GM reduced total waste generated per vehicle by 5 percent at its global manufacturing facilities. Its recycling and reuse efforts last year avoided 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. GM’s landfill-free roster includes more than half of its global manufacturing facilities.

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