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General Motors Earns $1 Billion A Year From Recycling

October 11th, 2011 · 1 Comment

GM was chosen as a finalist for the Waste and Recycling News Green Corporate Citizen Award. General motors earns 1 billion a year from recycling.

General Motors logo
American carmaker General Motors Corporation has shown that recycling can be an excellent profit source for any manufacturing business. (Photo: The Motor Report)

We seem to be hearing a lot about General Motors these days. A few months ago, we wrote about their zero waste initiative and just last month, we reported that GM was also chosen as a finalist for the Waste and Recycling News’ Green Corporate Citizen Award.

Triple Pundit recently posted this article about GM making the business case for recycling. The post cites recycling statistics at GM’s manufacturing plants and the automaker’s use of recycled plastic to build parts for some of its vehicles.

We agree. As demonstrated by GM, recycling can be an integral profit source for any manufacturing business willing to take the initiative and operate outside of the norm.

The American automaker has 76 zero-waste-to-landfill plants at present, with plans underway to convert 10 more plants into zero waste locations. They recycle or reuse 97% of their byproducts and Triple Pundit mentions that they’re making a lucrative $1 billion a year side business just from selling scrap. GM is making $20,000 a month from cardboard recycling alone!

What’s most impressive is GM’s willingness to not just sell scrap for recycling but to use the recycled materials themselves.

We all witnessed the havoc and destruction that the BP oil spill wreaked on the fragile ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico and coastal areas in southern U.S. As I was watching on TV the efforts to contain the spill, I remember thinking about the miles and miles of plastic booms that they were using and how they will dispose of that afterward.

GM promptly came into the scene and announced that they would use 227 miles of oil-soaked booms from the cleanup to make parts (air deflectors) for the Chevy Volt. That’s equivalent to 212,500 lbs. or 106 tons of waste diverted from the landfills or incinerators.

Apart from recycling, GM also leads the way among car manufacturers in efficient design and use of renewable energy. They’ve already started to incorporate cradle-to-cradle concepts in their designs focusing on recycling, materials, efficient manufacturing process, energy consumption, and product end of life disposal. GM has invested $7.5 million on commercial solar developer Sunlogics and will be doubling the solar panel installations in all their facilities by 2015.

In this era when the words corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship are all but forgotten in many boardrooms across America, GM has shown on their way to the bank that these ethical concepts aren’t profit busters at all.

via Triple Pundit

Tags: Recycling

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