GM Seeks to Boost Recycling Infrastructure in Southeast

General Motors is taking a regional approach to boosting recycling infrastructure, looking first to the Southeast United States.

The Suppliers' Partnership for the Environment Southern Network forum is hosted a group of automakers, suppliers, recycling partner.s and government officials at its Spring Hill, Tenn. Complex on Feb. 19 to discuss waste-reduction challenges, recycling opportunities, and capabilities.

GM is seeking to increase its landfill-free facilities from 104 to 125 by 2020 and credits its waste-reduction leadership in part to its strong network of partners and suppliers.

Suppliers Partnership, a group GM helped form, collaborates with and mentors members within the automotive supply base on environmental and social issues. GM envisions the new Southern Network forum as the first step in a growing regional recycling and job development network with the potential to increase waste-treatment options and alternatives to landfilling.

“Compared to other regions where GM has plants, the Southeast has opportunity to build up its recycling economy,” said John Bradburn, GM manager of waste-reduction efforts. “By connecting local recyclers – and those with potential – with area companies, we can start to address the gaps and build a more robust infrastructure that will help the auto industry and beyond to leave a smaller footprint.”

During the event, Bradburn discussed how suppliers and automakers can work together to reach landfill-free facility goals. Many GM projects, from helping insulate sleeping bags for the homeless and turning oil-soaked booms into parts for the Chevrolet Volt, resulted from collaborating within the Suppliers Partnership network.

Bradburn shared the best practices for recycling and reuse that improve a company’s bottom line.  GM regards all its byproducts as useful and marketable; it now counts about $1 billion in revenue annually from byproduct recycling and reuse.

“Companies are increasingly integrating sustainability into their businesses,” said Jamie Stitt, deputy assistant commissioner for business development, Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development.  “With economic growth, it’s important to simultaneously develop the infrastructure that supports environmental initiatives.”

According to Southern Business & Development magazine, the South is the nation's most active region for capital investment and job generation. More companies move and expand in the South than any other place in the United States. 

For more information on GM’s environmental commitment, please visit their Website and check out their blog.