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GM, Dow, Others Launch Zero-Waste Initiative

General Motors, Dow Materials and Marathon Petroleum are among the companies working on an initiative to develop zero-waste partnerships in Detroit.

The Reuse Opportunity Collaboratory Detroit held its launch event at the General Motors Renaissance Center, bringing together companies, academic institutions, nonprofits and government agencies interested in creating environmental and economic opportunities from Detroit’s underutilized materials.

Other ROC Detroit partners include Walker-Miller Energy, Alpha Resins, Aevitas Specialty and Pure Michigan Business Connect, which introduced its match-marking platform at the launch event. The platform allows the partner companies to connect with small and medium-sized businesses to implement by-product reuse.

The next step for ROC Detroit is collecting more detailed data on priority materials and by-product streams to load into an online materials database. This database will allow participants to share their information and help identify reuse opportunities.

Last week GM announced that 11 more of its facilities have achieved landfill-free status. The company’s running total is 122 manufacturing and non-manufacturing operations. All of these facilities treat their waste as resources out of place and employ a number of methods to give them a second or third life, the company says.

For example, GM’s CAMI Assembly turns scrap wood into mulch for its wetlands and Grand Rapids Operations recycles grinding wheels as sandpaper. The Grand Rapids site also works with a partner that processes wastewater treatment sludge into a fuel source for the building materials industry.

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