Waste-free is a growing trend both among consumers and also in the business world. Companies are working on reducing the amount of waste that they send to local landfills; one such company is General Motors. Today GM announced that 52 percent of its worldwide facilities are landfill-free. This means that all of the waste generated by each of these landfill-free facilities is recycled, reused or turned into energy.
In 2008, General Motors announced their goal of attaining landfill-free status at 50 percent of its worldwide facilities by the end of this year. The company is the proud owner of 76 landfill-free plants out of 145 total facilities. An average of 97 percent of waste products are either reused or recycled at these 76 facilities with an additional three percent converted to usable energy.
"It's all about being creative, lean and rethinking traditional manufacturing processes," said John Bradburn, manager of GM's waste-reduction efforts. "When you think of what it would take for a family of four to not produce any trash for a year, that's quite a task. This is 76 sites around the world and about 70,000 employees committed to the cause." Source: GM
Bradburn touched on a very important aspect of GM’s milestone, employee commitment. If the employees at GM facilities weren’t diligent in their efforts to recycle and reuse products, the company wouldn’t have been able to reach this goal. While GM should be applauded for the progress it has made towards achieving zero-landfill status at more than half of its facilities, the employees should also be recognized for their efforts.
In discussing this new milestone, Bradburn also mentions the importance of creativity. For example, cardboard shipping materials used at the Marion Stamping and Fort Wayne Assembly plants are recycled and then reused in the headliner of the Buick Lacrosse.
The zero-waste project is just one of many sustainability goals that GM is working on over the next several years including a large investment in renewable energy. In November, Chevrolet announced a $40 million investment into community-based clean energy projects across the nation.