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GM Advancing Global Zero-Waste Goal by Making Shoes, Washing Rags

December 17, 2015

GM Advancing Global Zero-Waste Goal by Making Shoes, Washing Rags

Making shoe soles and washing solvent-drenched rags instead of discarding disposables are two ways General Motors is approaching its aspirational goal of becoming a zero-waste manufacturer.

With the addition of six landfill-free sites in Mexico and England, the company’s industry-leading landfill-free count totals 131 facilities.

Luton Assembly and Ellesmere Port Assembly achieved landfill-free status, making all 18 Opel/Vauxhall manufacturing plants in Europe landfill-free, which means daily waste is recycled, reused or converted to energy.

The addition of two engine plants, a warehouse, and technical center at GM’s Toluca, Mexico complex mean all of GM de Mexico assembly, engine and transmission plants plus various non-manufacturing operations such as the company’s global headquarters in Detroit — a total of 16 facilities — send no waste to landfills.

“Our global progress in waste reduction is possible because of employee participation, creative ideas, and a strong supplier network,” said Jim DeLuca, GM’s EVP of Global Manufacturing. “Our teams understand the positive impact of this initiative and they drive it in their facilities every day.”

The Toluca facilities work closely with resource management suppliers to find uses for their byproducts, such as turning polystyrene foam packaging into footwear (see infographic, right). GM takes the material to a warehouse where it is baled, and then sent to be crushed and densified into pellets. Those pellets are combined with other polymers to create shoe soles.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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