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GM Earns $1bn a Year From Recycling

General Motors is making about $1 billion a year from selling scrap byproducts, waste reduction manager John Bradburn told the Corporate Recycling & Waste Conference in Orlando.

The annual revenue stream has been increasing: GM reported last December that it made about $2.5 billion through its recycling activities since 2007.

But Bradburn said the company has a long way to go, according to Waste & Recycling News.

General Motors Co. recycled 92 percent of materials from its plants last year, with more than half of the factories achieving zero-waste status. The zero-waste plants recycled or reused an average of 97 percent of waste, directing the remaining three percent to waste-to-energy projects.

Bradburn said he wants to reduce that last figure to two percent – but at the same time, increase the volume of materials going to incinerators. That equation will require more GM plants to go zero-waste.

Bradburn said GM managed to keep a focus on waste reduction during its government bailout in 2009 because of management and staff enthusiasm for the initiative built up over a number of years. The billions of dollars in revenue had a big part to play in that.

In May GM said its plans to turn oil-soaked booms from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill into air deflectors for its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid had far exceeded expectations.

GM has recycled 212,500 pounds of booms, more than double the 100,000 originally projected, and more than enough to make a production year’s worth of air-deflecting baffles.

Also in May, GM announced that its Orion assembly plant in Orion, Mich., is powering 40 percent of production of the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano with landfill gas for an annual savings of $1.1 million in energy costs.

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