General Motors, which last year began a multi-site campus decommissioning project, has diverted 99.7 percent of its office assets from landfill by partnering with Green Standards and Herman Miller to repurpose and recycle tens of thousands of pieces of office furniture and equipment.
General Motors is undergoing a multi-campus office decommissioning effort at its Warren Technical Center, Detroit headquarters and Milford Proving Ground locations.
Green Standards is an environmental firm that manages furniture and equipment “waste” generated by workplace revitalization and relocation projects. Working with Herman Miller and its rePurpose program, which resells, recycles and donates surplus corporate assets, Green Standards has helped GM divert nearly 1,500 tons (99.7 percent) of its office assets from landfill.
Additionally, $200,000 worth of in-kind donations have been made since the three companies initially partnered on the project late last year. More than 30 Michigan nonprofits have benefited from free GM office assets so far.
The partnership also helps GM achieve its waste management goals while helping improve communities in which it operates. In December, the automaker said it had achieved its landfill-free target four years early.
In 2011 GM set a goal to operate 150 landfill-free sites by 2020. In 2016, it added 23 such sites, and now boasts 152 facilities globally that send zero waste to landfills.
Operating facilities that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations contribute to GM’s top and bottom lines by driving efficiencies, generating revenue and saving money. In an earlier interview, John Bradburn, GM global manager of waste reduction, told Environmental Leader that the company has generated up to $1 billion from recycling in recent years.
Through Green Standards, Herman Miller and GM’s collaboration, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), along with other local nonprofits have received free office furniture and equipment that helps to improve the comfort, safety and productivity of their work spaces while creating direct cost savings.
Green Standards is also donating $4,500 to MUFI to support its crowdgranting effort to create America’s first sustainable urban agrihood. If the organization reaches its $50,000 fundraising goal by April 2, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will provide a matching grant of $50,000 with funds from MEDC’S Public Spaces Community Places program.
Funds raised from MUFI’s crowdfunding campaign will transform a long-vacant three-story former apartment building into a 3,200-square-foot Community Resource Center with gathering space for educational programs and training opportunities, as well as house a commercial kitchen.
The GM-Green Standards partnership also illustrates a solution to a growing waste stream: office furniture, or f-waste. This 8.5 million ton annual trash problem is becoming the new e-waste, Waste360 reports.
Green Standards has diverted more than 30,000 tons of furniture and equipment waste from landfill since 2009.
IRN: The Reuse Network is another company diverting f-waste from landfill. This firm, which pairs US schools, companies and hospitals looking for furniture with organizations that have surplus equipment, arranges trucks to come to the project site, hires a moving crew and ships the furnishings to the paired charity.
“In 2016, we shipped approximately 7.5 million pounds of furniture to 107 nonprofit recipients, and our goal for 2017 is to ship 10 million pounds to charities across the globe. No matter how much we can find and ship, the need in the US (and worldwide) is a thousand times more than we can ever provide,” IRN CEO and president Mark Lennon told Waste360.