Yesterday General Motors reported that it is still recycling almost a quarter of a million pounds of oil-soaked booms from the Gulf of Mexico and other waste materials into plastic components for the Chevrolet Volt.
This story has been reported before, but GM considers it ongoing, so we’re giving you the latest. The company obviously wishes to build on its environmentally conscious image, and indeed, it is proving it deserves the new reputation with action.
“GM decided to offer assistance by collecting boom material from the Gulf coast until there was no longer a need,” said John Bradburn, GM’s manager of waste-reduction efforts. “We’re in the process of identifying other areas where the material we have left can be used – potentially in our plants – now that we have a sufficient quantity for the Volt.”
GM and its partners, including Heritage Environmental, Mobile Fluid Recovery, and GDC, Inc., re-used the booms while also refining out their oil content for energy purposes. In addition, they were able to:
• Re-use 227 miles of the absorbent boom material
• Save 29,000 gallons of water and oil from the nation’s landfills
• Eliminate 212,500 pounds of waste from being thrown out
• Eliminate 149 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions from entering the air
The air deflectors are made up of equal parts of recycled materials. These are: 25-percent boom material, 25-percent recycled tires from GM’s Milford Proving Ground facility, 25-percent waste plastic packaging from its Fort Wayne assembly plant, and 25-percent post-consumer plastics and other polymers from a variety of sources.
Before GM began the project, the only options for the contaminated boom material were disposing of it in a landfill or burning it for energy. While energy conversion was preferable to waiting hundreds of years for the material to decompose, both options end the life of a material that, if recycled, could live indefinitely.
“We applaud GM for moving beyond traditional corporate responsibility efforts and finding a way to turn a portion of the waste from one of the worst environmental challenges in our nation’s history into something valuable,” said Corey Lambrecht, president of Earth911, Inc., host of the nation’s largest recycling directory. “We need more, creative cleanup and recycling efforts like these.”
GM said in 2010 its facilities worldwide recycled 92 percent of the waste they generated. It uses recycled and bio-based materials such as plastic bottles, blue jeans, cardboard, carpet, tires, kenaf fibers, balsa wood and soy in its vehicles.
“We use recycled and bio-based materials whenever possible,” Bradburn said. “Fortunately, we were able to leverage what we know to aid in the Gulf cleanup efforts, produce a high-quality part for a brand-new vehicle and keep the boom material in its use phase all in a cost-neutral way.”
This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.