GM’s Rosario, Argentina facility is now a landfill-free triumvirate as the assembly and stamping plants have joined the powertrain plant in not sending any waste to landfill.
GM’s landfill-free plant total now stands at 78.
“Our team made great strides once they began seeing waste as reusable material,” said Norberto Tinazzo, environmental engineer at GM’s Rosario plants. “Like all GM plants, we thrive on strong data. We understand what waste is being generated and work together to find ways to responsibly manage these streams.”
The Rosario facilities manage these streams in some resourceful activities, including:
• Materials vitrification: Superheating various solid waste streams to form a solid, nonhazardous material used for road bases.
• Solvent recycling: Capturing solvents used between paint color changes and reformulating them into a paint that is cured and hardened with a UV light and applied to plant floors.
• Onsite composting: Separating cafeteria food waste and other wood was
te generated onsite into containers where they break down to form nutrient-rich organic humus. The composting dirt is used as natural fertilizer in gardens at the site.
• Pallet recycling: Cutting pallets and reworking them by gluing and joining the lengths together to form large wood beams for the homebuilding industry. Excess wood generates heat for crate sanitation.
“We’re able to share knowledge among all of our global facilities to identify the best of the best in innovative recycling,” said John Bradburn, manager of waste-reduction efforts at GM. “Many significant initiatives – like the vitrification and solvent recycling – are coming from Rosario. They’re setting industry-wide benchmarks.”
In total, GM’s zero-landfill manufacturing plants recycle or reuse more than 97 percent of waste materials; the rest is converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities, replacing fossil fuels.
Last year, GM surpassed a global operations commitment to make half of its 145 plants landfill-free. Its new goal is to add 10 more by the end of 2011. Recently, the efforts have spread to non-manufacturing sites; 10 of which are now landfill free.