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Car Makers And The Quest For Zero Waste

July 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Car makers and the quest for Zero Waste. Honda and General Motors have announced substantial improvement in results to their initiatives to cut down on wastes in their manufacturing plants.

Car manufacturers seem to be doing a lot for the environment lately. Not only is there a race to build the most fuel efficient EVs and hybrids out there, car makers also appear to be streamlining their operations to produce the least amount of waste possible.

Both Honda and General Motors have announced substantial improvement in results to their initiatives to cut down on wastes in their manufacturing plants.

Ten out of fourteen Honda manufacturing locations have now achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status while the other 4 plants are are almost getting very close to zero-waste status. Honda has always been the pacesetter in this regard – it’s own Honda Manufacturing of Alabama was the first ever auto manufacturing facility in North America to achieve zero-waste status.

General Motors is also reporting some inspiring results in their efforts to fight waste. GM says 86 of their 145 locations nationwide will stop sending waste materials to landfills by end of 2011. The company has been aggressively working towards greener facilities these past 10 years, getting zero-waste status for 76 of their locations.

From a high of 62.8 pounds of waste landfilled per vehicle manufactured in North America in 2001, Honda has successfully reduced the waste average to an estimated 1.8 pounds per automobile in 2011. Honda says the remaining materials going out to landfills are cafeteria food packaging waste from their Mexico plants (where there no nearby recycling facilities) and non-recyclable paint byproduct from their locations in Ohio.

GM, on the other hand, have achieved landfill-free status for many of their sites through innovation and clever applications of technology. Their location in Flint, MI, for example, has been using biodegradable eco-foam (made from extruded corn starch) to pack sheet metal. The approach has been a tremendous success for the company obviously – GM says that worldwide, they have recycled 92 percent of the waste they generated in 2010!

Other automotive manufacturing companies like Thomas Built and Subaru are also actively working towards zero waste status. As noted elsewhere, reducing and recycling waste creates jobs, helps the environment, and saves money in the long run. Keep it up, fellas.

Tags: Recycling