General Motors Converts 10 Non-Manufacturing Sites into Landfill-Free Facilities
General Motors is making progress with its initiative to reduce its contribution of waste to landfills, as the automaker has recently outfitted 10 of its non-manufacturing sites with equipment for recycling and reusing waste generated from normal operations or converting it into energy. In addition to the 10 new facilities, GM boasts 76 landfill-free manufacturing sites and claims to have recycled 92 percent of waste produced at all of its plants worldwide -- including both regular and landfill-free facilities.
A crucial step in converting these sites into landfill-free facilities was redesigning packaging materials such as cardboard -- an essential material in GM's shipping and other operations -- with more recyclable attributes. GM's engineers worked with a supplier to come up with a process to shear and separate cardboard boxes attached to wood pallets, which has made disassembly for recycling considerably easier. This technology not only granted a Customer Care and Aftersales (CCA) facility in Burton, MI landfill-free status, but also contributes $20,000 a month in recycling revenue.
At another CCA facility in Flint, MI, biodegradable packaging foam developed by supplier Landaal Packaging Systems is used. Made from extruded cornstarch, the foam braces and protects objects like sheet metal for safe transit. Once its purpose is fulfilled, the material can be turned into compost.
"Being landfill-free has become a point of pride for our people and we hope even more facilities achieve the goal this year," said manager of GM's waste-reduction efforts John Bradburn.
GM surpassed the goal it set last year of making half of its 145 plants landfill-free, and has set a new goal of adding 10 more landfill-free manufacturing facilities by the end of 2011.