GM Scrap Vehicle Material Insulates Coats for Homeless

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GM Scrap Vehicle Material Insulates Coats for Homeless

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The Empowerment Plan Founder Veronika Scott models the self-heated, waterproof, all-in-one coat and sleeping bag she designed for the homeless Monday, September 10, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Donated leftover sound absorbing material from production of Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Verano sedans is being used as additional insulation in the construction of the coats. General Motors has donated 2,000 yards of the material, enough to make 400 coats. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 9:45am

CAMPAIGN: GM Waste Reduction

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media)  Detroit - September 11, 2012 - Leftover sound absorbing material from production of Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Veranosedans is being used by the homeless to create their own self-heated, waterproof coats that transform into sleeping bags.

The weather protection gear is the vision of Veronika Scott, a Detroit humanitarian whoseEmpowerment Plan is working with General Motors for the source material.

“Among other challenges – from design to project funding – the insulation is the largest expense in the coats’ production,” said Scott. “With GM’s help and recommendations, I was able to think about materials in a different way and incorporate a sustainable, durable and practical product from GDC, Inc. that benefits struggling community members.”

Sonozorb™, the insulating material, is manufactured in different shapes to fit within door cavities and vehicle compartments for sound absorption. Automotive supplier GDC makes the coat insulation material exclusively from the leftover scrap, reprocessing it for reuse.

GM donated 2,000 yards of material, enough to make 400 coats.

In addition to donating it to the coat project, GM has reused the highly oil absorbent material in its manufacturing plants. It was also used in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup. GM spearheaded a project to recover used oil-soaked booms, converting them into a production year’s worth of Chevrolet Volts. The effort prevented 212,500 pounds of waste from entering U.S. landfills.

GM’s cross-industry collaboration is again serving the community.

“Helping incorporate sustainability into Veronika’s entrepreneurial project reflects GM’s mission to creatively reduce waste and invest in the community,” said John Bradburn, GM’s manager of waste-reduction efforts. “From previous projects, we knew how this material could be reused and approached Veronika and GDC, who quickly agreed to participate.”

Scott initially designed the coats to fulfill a classroom requirement while a junior at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. Since December 2010, she has employed eight homeless women full time, making 150 coats each month. The coats have been available since February 2011 and are distributed to homeless outreach organizations in Detroit and across the nation. Scott also helps her employees find housing and achieve financial independence.

This coat-making activity is part of GM’s commitment to waste reduction, recycling and reuse. It has102 landfill-free facilities globally that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations – more than any other automaker. Last year, it recycled or reused 2.5 million metric tons at its facilities worldwide. That is equivalent to more than 38 million trash bags.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets.  GM’s brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at