General Motors’ manufacturing facility in Rochester, NY, is now landfill-free, bringing GM’s landfill-free facility count to 109, which it says is more than any automaker.
The company has committed to achieving 125 landfill-free facilities by 2020.
The plant’s waste reduction achievement took four years and included seven attempts to recycle an oily filter sludge generated from a machining operation. GM supplier Mobile Fluid Recovery helped the 1.8-million-square-foot facility overcome this final hurdle and separate a mucky mixture of metal, filter paper and oil produced by a machine that cuts metal for fuel injector and manifold components.
The machine uses oil for lubrication from a central pit. Once complete, oil flows back to a section of the pit, carrying with it small pieces of metal shavings. Filters clean out the residue and metal chips, while clean oil flows back to the main pit to start the process again.
Mobile Fluid Recovery addressed this roadblock by centrifuging the remaining material. The velocity makes excess oil pass through a filter into a hose. The oil is filtered further to remove air and water, tested, and dumped back into the pit for reuse. The remaining dried filter paper and fine metal particles are converted into energy.
To increase cardboard recycling, signage communicated the fact that GM receives 2 cents per pound if recycled versus paying 3 cents per pound to send it to a landfill. In just a year, the plant recycled 115 tons of cardboard, more than twice as much collected the prior year, avoiding use of 950 cubic yards of landfill space. The plant executed similar communications for scrap paper and electronics.
In September Volvo’s New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va., achieved zero landfill status at its truck manufacturing operations. Ford earlier this year unveiled a five-year global strategy to reduce waste sent to landfill between 2011 and 2016 by 40 percent per vehicle.