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GM Ramps Up Recycling

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GM ramps up recycling
More than 80 plants to be landfill-free after 2010
Robert Snell | Link to Original Article @ The Detroit News

WARREN -- General Motors Corp. plans to recycle or reuse all production waste and garbage at half of its factories around the world by the end of 2010, a move that could pour millions of dollars into the automaker's coffers from sales of scrap metal and recycled materials.

The commitment to having more than 80 of its factories become landfill-free generates money for financially-strapped GM and dovetails with its commitment to environmentally friendly policies, company officials said during an announcement Friday at the company's transmission plant in Warren.

Selling scrap metal generates almost $1 billion a year for the automaker, and GM makes about $16 million from selling recycled cardboard, wood, oil, plastic and other materials. Those figures could increase as more facilities become landfill-free.

"Environmental performance is linked to financial performance," said John Bradburn, a GM environmental engineer.

GM has 43 manufacturing facilities -- including Warren Transmission -- that are landfill-free, which means those locations recycle or reuse more than 96 percent of waste materials. An additional 3 percent is converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities.

The other five Michigan facilities are in Ypsilanti, Livonia, Wixom and Flint.

Recycling is an ongoing challenge. Finding a place for old batteries, for example, will become increasingly important after GM unveils the Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range vehicle that could travel up to 40 miles on electric power alone. GM plans to start building the Volt in late 2010.

The Volt will have a gas engine that powers a generator, which recharges the battery and keeps the vehicle running when its lithium-ion battery pack is low on power. GM is working on finding a way to reuse or recycle those batteries.

"As we develop new solutions in vehicle propulsion, GM is also making significant progress in reducing the impact our worldwide facilities have on the environment," said Gary Cowger, GM's vice president of global manufacturing and labor.

There are several benefits to GM's green strategy aside from profit, said auto analyst Jim Hall, managing director of 2953 Analytics LLP in Birmingham.

GM can get ahead of any potential legislation dealing with land management and redevelopment, and benefit from existing tax incentives in some communities, Hall said. Green policies also appeal to buyers and it could be easier to redevelop or sell those manufacturing sites if operations are cleaner.

"Those places can get funky," Hall said. "I'm not saying you've got Superfund sites here ... but if you're cleaner, it gives you more options."

This year, more than 3 million tons of waste materials from GM plants worldwide will be recycled or reused and an additional 50,000 tons will be converted into energy.

There are a variety of uses for waste materials. GM sends waste aluminum to foundries and reuses it as engine and transmission components while used oil is reconditioned for use in GM's facilities.

By recycling and eliminating waste, the automaker will prevent the release of 3.65 million metric tons of carbon dioxide this year.

"It's the right thing to do for our business and the environment," said John Buttermore, vice president of GM's Global Powertrain Manufacturing
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Now advertise, advertise, advertise.

I was watching Spike TV today and in a two hour period Toyota showed this ad 3 times about how it was "neutralizing the negatives" of automobile environmental impact and "humanizing mobility"...PR fluff as usual, but Toyota always does a convincing job with its advertising. However, Toyota ads are usually so vague without any hard facts or figures...they just use pretty buzz words and people eat it up.

If GM has 43 plants right now that are landfill-free facilities, get it in print ASAP. Use the same pretty buzz words that Toyota does, but back it up with some hard numbers. For all the positives I read about GM, it never really seems to make it beyond the car buff websites out into the general public.

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The other five Michigan facilities are in Ypsilanti, Livonia, Wixom and Flint.

I'm really suprised the Lambda plant in Lansing isn't.... it's only a few years old?!!? I saw it being built.

This is great news to hear. I hope they advertise the crap out of it.

Edited by BuddyP
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