When I look at how green the auto industry has become, I usually review product lineups – how many hybrids, EVs, fuel cell vehicles, etc.? As for looking at the big picture of corporate sustainability, that gets confusing. GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and BMW have been moving in that direction with renewable power sources in their factories, recycling, and other green programs. But how real is it?
GM seems to be taking it seriously. Its Fort Wayne Assembly Plant has become its first US factory to reach zero waste-to-landfill status, joining 78 other GM manufacturing facilities around the world.
According to Environmental Leader: “At the Fort Wayne plant, where GM makes the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks, some of the biggest initiatives included process and material changes in the paint shop. This enabled the facility to recycle processed wastewater treatment sludge that it previously had to send to landfills.The plant also cleans and reuses absorbent pads used to soak up oil and water from the plant floor, up to three times per pad. Soon, the company says, it will begin recycling this material into Silverado and Sierra air deflectors, which also contain some of the plant’s recycled packaging plastic.”
Along with feeling proud of their accomplishments and promoting them, there are other benefits, including making money through recycling revenue. GM made more than $2 million in recycling revenue last year, and is making about $1 BILLION a year from selling scrap byproducts. Wow! What category does that show up under on the balance sheet? Is it revenue, and what label does it get? That would be a good problem to have.