“A single plastic bag of household garbage represents more trash going to a landfill than 100 General Motors facilities combined.”
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- July 4, 2012
GM produces vehicles in 30 countries and has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM’s brands include Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling.
For our Independence Day, what better news than to hear that GM added its 100th landfill-free facility in Lansing, MI.
Like all automakers, GM considers reducing waste at every stage of the automobile manufacturing process from raw materials and distribution to managing all the processes and facilities involved in creating a consumer ready automobile. After that, the company then focuses on recycling and reuse.
In 2011, GM recycled or reused 2.6 million tons of potential landfill waste from its plants worldwide. That is equivalent to more than 38 million garbage bags!
Mike Robinson, GM VP of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs:
“Our landfill-free program continues to strengthen our business by creating efficiencies, generating revenue
and inspiring innovation with products made from recycled content and everyone plays a role.”[/quote]
GM began tracking its disposables 15 years ago and from that initial step, has continuously improved its recycling efforts each and every year since.
Given GM’s size, it is no wonder that they recycle or reuse more than 90 percent of the waste generated, more than any other automaker according to the company.
In Europe 22 GM facilities are landfill-free. The recycling rate of all facilities in Europe is 99.5 percent - meaning only 0.5 percent of all waste is landfilled.
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. GM regularly shares its recycling best practices with companies of all sizes and industries.
In its first sustainability report
as a new company, GM committed to achieve 25 more landfill-free sites and reduce total waste by another 10 percent by 2020. Other environmental stewardship goals released I the report include the following:
- Reduce energy intensity from facilities by 20 percent.
- Promote use of 125MW of renewable energy by 2020.
- Reduce carbon intensity from facilities by 20 percent.
- Reduce volatile organic compound emissions from assembly painting operations by 10 percent.
- Protect water quality and reduce water intensity by 15 percent.
- Reduce total waste from facilities by 10 percent.
- Promote existing landfill-free facilities while working to achieve 100 landfill-free manufacturing sites and 25 non-manufacturing sites.
- Promote and engage in community outreach on environmental and energy issues by completing one outreach activity per plant on an annual basis.
- Secure Wildlife Habitat Certification (or equivalent) at each GM manufacturing site where feasible by 2020.
In 2011 alone, GM reduced total waste generated per vehicle by 5 percent at its manufacturing facilities worldwide. GM’s current and ever expanding list of landfill-free sites now includes more than half of its global manufacturing facilities.
This is the best of GM and it should make you feel proud about what this iconic American automobile manufacturer is doing on this particular day when we honor the nations birth and all that she has provided. After all, GM brought the Volt to market as they were trying to survive the worst crisis in their long and illustrious 104 years of existence all the while increasing the number of landfill free facilities under their control. Most know I can be their biggest critic and at other times their biggest cheerleader. Today is one of the “Cheer them on” days and I hope you will as well.
I will leave you with this appropriate parting shot from the “1776 Freedom Drive” in which a pre-production prototype Volt was driven from Austin, TX to NY City just two years ago today.
Happy Independence Day GM and America!