Fastlane

April 19, 2012

Delphi Tackles Waste to Lessen Their Impact

Each day this week leading up to Earth Day on April 22, GM’s BeyondNow blog is featuring a guest post written by a respected member of the sustainability community. Today’s post is written by Kimberly Bowden. She is a sustainability expert at Delphi, a global supplier of electronics and technologies for the automotive market segment.

At Delphi, waste minimization is an initiative we take very seriously. We have been working diligently to identify opportunities and execute projects that reduce, reuse and recycle waste. These efforts have been driven by our desire to lessen the impact of our operations on the environment, as well as initiatives led by our customers, government regulations, and associated costs. We have been integrating measures to reduce waste throughout our operations in order to support the efforts of our customers, such as GM, to assist in their efforts related to sending zero waste to landfills.
 
Throughout our manufacturing history, we have implemented projects that enabled our operations to cost effectively reduce the amount of waste sent for disposal. More recently, we looked beyond the “low-hanging fruit” toward more innovative solutions. We are addressing this issue from both an upstream and downstream approach. Identifying opportunities to reduce our packaging waste has entailed a concerted effort from not only our environmental organization, but manufacturing, engineering and logistics as well. With parts being shipped from around the globe, protecting the integrity of every single part remains a priority when addressing the elimination of packaging. Returnable containers, optimizing full load shipments, and minimizing the amount of packaging continues to be a focus of Delphi.

At our sites, improved waste container labeling through visual aids, reduced container size to eliminate the disposal of excess packaging, improved segregation on the manufacturing floor, clear plastic bags to support the identification of unwanted material, and improved communication are just some of the processes that our sites have implemented. Delphi’s Flint site adopted some of GM’s John Bradburn’s suggestions which assisted in doubling the cardboard recycling volumes, increasing paper recycling by 42% and optimizing soft plastic recycling by 18%. Additionally finding venders to take some of the low value materials has been challenging.  Through diligent efforts and support of external organizations, suppliers and customers, we have continued to identify solutions.

At several Delphi operations in Mexico, sites continue to identify recycling options for generated waste.  Identifying a recycler for additional plastic scrap has decreased disposal volumes by 156,000 kilograms annually.  Throughout Brazil, our operations annually engage the local community in pollution prevention activities. For the past nine years, this activity has reached over 77,000 school age children. This year’s theme was recycling of cooking oil. Through engagement with local schools and employees, the Delphi EH&S organization collected approximately 12,000 liters of used cooking oil for recycling. Profits from this recycling effort were returned to the schools to support program development.

Implementing ISO 14001 at our sites has also provided a systematic approach to waste minimization. For several years, we have established a target of 5% reduction in the company’s generation of waste. In order to meet this objective, our sites have identified this as one of their significant initiatives. Throughout the company recycling and waste disposal metrics are tracked allowing the sites and our leadership to identify trends and take action where necessary.
 
At Delphi, we are dedicated to protecting human health, natural resources and the global environment. We also focus on sustainable value creation. Our approach is designed to be an environmentally responsible enterprise while creating value for our stakeholders around the world.

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