GM has added its 100th landfill-free facility, a parts distribution center in Lansing, Mich., as part of its ongoing waste-reduction efforts. In 2011, the company says it recycled or reused 2.6 million metric tons at its facilities worldwide.
As a whole, GM’s facilities recycle or reuse more than 90 percent of the waste they generate, according to the company.
GM began tracking its waste 15 years ago. In 2011, the company announced its Fort Wayne Assembly Plant had become its first U.S. factory to reach zero waste-to-landfill status. That year, GM says it cut total waste generated per vehicle by 5 percent, and recycled or reused enough materials to avoid 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions.
In a sustainability report published last January – its first since reorganizing in 2009 – GM said its number of landfill-free facilities rose from 0 in 2000 and 1 in 2005 to 76 in 2010, and in that year its facilities recycled 92 percent of the waste they generated. In the report, GM committed to achieve 25 more landfill-free sites and reduce total waste by an additional 10 percent by 2020.
The company has been re-purposing a wide variety of material. In conjunction with its suppliers, GM recycles scrap cardboard from various plants into a sound absorber on the Buick Lacrosse and Verano interior roof. Air deflectors on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks are made with used tires from the automaker’s proving ground.
The company has also recycled 212,500 pounds of oil-soaked booms from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, more than double the 100,000 originally projected, and more than enough to make a production year’s worth of air-deflecting baffles.