GM Sets Pace for Zero Waste

Primary tabs

GM Sets Pace for Zero Waste

Company commits to new aspirational goal in latest sustainability report
GM’s 122 landfill-free facilities inspired an aspirational goal to become the first automaker with all manufacturing sites sending zero waste to landfill.
tweet me:
.@GM has set an aspirational goal to send zero manufacturing waste to a landfill. Learn more:
Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 2:50pm

CAMPAIGN: GM 2014 Sustainability Report


Ten years ago GM reached a significant milestone in our waste reduction journey when our Flint Engine plant in Michigan became landfill-free. With 122 such facilities under our belt now, we now aspire to send zero of our manufacturing waste to landfills.

We produce vehicles in 30 countries, so this commitment translates to significant scale. To put it in perspective, if you put the amount of waste we recycled and reused just last year into the beds of Chevrolet Silverado pickups and parked them end-to-end, they would stretch around the world.

We try not to let our waste go to waste by sitting idly in a county landfill; we’re committed to finding more creative homes for it. And these efforts help curb climate change.

This recycled material – 2.5 million metric tons, to be exact – avoided more than 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. That more than offsets our company’s worldwide manufacturing emissions.

Right now our landfill-free count represents a little more than half of our manufacturing operations. Meeting our stretch goal won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight. From regional recycling infrastructure to local regulations, we encounter many challenges.

Despite that, many sites are pretty close. Our average global recycling rate at our manufacturing plants is 85 percent.

We know the race to zero waste is a marathon versus a sprint. And once we’ve passed the finish line, we keep going because there’s always more to improve.

Here’s a snapshot of some key milestones on our landfill-free journey and how goal setting pushes us further along:

  • 2005: Achieved our first landfill-free plant
  • 2008: Set a goal to have half of GM’s manufacturing operations landfill-free
  • 2010: Achieved goal
  • 2011: Committed to 125 landfill-free sites by 2020
  • 2015: Increased commitment to 150 landfill free sites by 2020; set aspirational goal to be the first automaker sending zero manufacturing waste to landfill

Our people drive this initiative every day. They continue to tell us what works, suggest sorting techniques that increase recycling volumes, and connect us with forward-thinking partners that help find a second life for our resources. Thinking of waste as just a resource out of place is in our DNA

To learn more, visit our interactive 2014 sustainability report.

Keywords: Environment & Climate Change | Chevrolet Silverado | GM | General Motors | Recycling | Sustainability Report | Waste Reduction | landfill-free

CAMPAIGN: GM 2014 Sustainability Report