GM JoinvilleUS – The newcomers have brought the OEM’s total to 122 manufacturing and other operations across Asia, Europe and the Americas which recycle, reuse or convert to energy all their waste from daily activities. The additional facilities will help GM to avoid more than 600,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

“Our landfill-free movement is part of our culture of continuous improvement embraced by teams globally,” said Jim DeLuca, GM executive vice-president of Global Manufacturing. “Not only does it make our operations more efficient and help conserve vital resources, but we’re able to reinvest the money we get from recycling into future vehicles for our customers.”

Landfill-free status has now been achieved by: CAMI Assembly (Canada); Colmotores Assembly (Colombia); Joinville Engine (Brazil); Zaragoza Assembly (Spain); Zaragoza Stamping (Spain); Grand Rapids Operations (Michigan); Burton Warehouse and Distribution Center (Michigan); GM Heritage Center (Michigan); Shanghai Headquarters (China); Luton Warehouse (UK); and Fontana Warehouse and Distribution Center (California).

Zaragoza Assembly has reduced solvent consumption in its paintshop and now reuses 80%; Grand Rapids recycles and reuses its oil multiple times, saving $1.2m per year, as well as recycling grinding wheels into sandpaper; CAMI Assembly turns scrap wood into mulch for nearby wetlands; and Zaragoza composts wastewater treatment sludge to create fertiliser.

GM says that “a strong network of recycling partners and suppliers” is needed for its facilities to achieve their environmental goals. Examples include the recruitment of a waste technician at Burton to sort packaging waste; Zaragoza’s local partner for the transportation and treatment of paint sludge to be converted to electricity; and a Grand Rapids partnership which turns wastewater treatment sludge into a fuel source for the building materials industry.

The OEM aims to operate 125 landfill-free sites worldwide by 2020, but has already met a 10% total waste reduction target, seven years ahead of schedule. “Our ultimate goal is not to generate any waste at all,” said John Bradburn, GM global manager of waste reduction. “Until then, we do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t end up in the ground.”