GM on Track to Make Half of Mfg Plants Landfill-Free

by | Sep 3, 2010

General Motors (GM) is on track to meet its goal to make half of its major global manufacturing operations landfill-free by the end of 2010.

John Bradburn, project manager for GM’s Design for Environment initiatives, told Forbes that 69 of the company’s plants worldwide are now landfill free up from 62, and 43 percent of production, in May. He also said that GM’s plants globally average a 90 percent recycling rate.

GM is using as much recycled material in its cars as possible to reduce its landfill waste.  As examples cited in the article, GM is grinding up old bumpers to make new air inlet panels for several models including the Chevy Camaro and Cadillac CTS, and is remaking worn carpets into mirror frames, fascia brackets and door-handle parts.

The Cadillac SRX uses bottles and milk jugs in its air-conditioning and heating vent covers, and the Chevy Volt uses them in baffles, along with recycled tires.

GM also uses recycled materials to make engine fans and shrouds, splash shields and dash insulators.

In addition, used cardboard material from GM’s stamping pads is made into acoustic pads for the Buick Lacrosse’s headliner, which translates into a 25 percent to 45 percent savings for GM, reports Forbes. GM is also using paint sludge as filler in making reusable shipping containers.

GM also sees a supply-chain benefit. GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel told Forbes: “Now when suppliers see a waste stream coming out of another industry, they contact us to see if it has the right chemical makeup from something we can recycle. They’re engaged in the process.”

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