GM releases process outline for zero-waste manufacturing

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GM Landfill Free Steps

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General Motors is offering a kind of dopesheet that summarizes how the company makes its plants and facilities landfill-free. A landfill-free environment means that the company’s production waste is reused, recycled or used to create energy.

The document was created to help companies of all sizes and industries reduce waste and create efficiencies.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, industrial facilities in the United States generate and manage 7.6 billion tons of industrial waste in land disposal units annually. However, General Motors says it recycles 90 percent of its worldwide manufacturing waste and has 102 landfill-free facilities. The company’s goal is to reach 125 globally by 2020.

GM Landfill Free Costs

The Detroit automaker says it strives to recover all resources to their highest value by managing byproducts in one electronic tracking system. All byproducts are seen as “useful and marketable”, and suppliers play crucial roles in making that happen. GM counts about $1 billion in revenue annually from byproduct recycling and reuse.

“A landfill-free program requires investment,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs. “It’s important to be patient as those upfront costs decrease in time, and recycling revenues will help offset them. This program allows GM to reduce its waste footprint while creating greater environmental awareness among employees and communities where we make and sell cars and trucks.”

GM Landfill Free Benefits

When GM started its landfill-free program in the United States, it invested about $10 for every ton of waste reduced. Over time, the company says it has reduced program costs 92 percent and total waste by 62 percent.

“Whether a company is large or small, a landfill-free journey involves a long-term view, bottom-line focus, innovative thinking and ongoing collaboration,” added Robinson.

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