10 things General Motors learned about going landfill-free

Getting to landfill-free is a challenging task. Over the years, however, we’ve developed best practices and are happy to share what’s worked for us. After all, it’s in everyone’s best interest to reduce the impact we have on the environment.

You can download GM’s blueprint with all the details. Here are 10 things we’ve learned along the way:

1. Track Waste Data: Put simply, we can’t manage what we don’t measure. Data tracking has allowed us to comprehend all materials generated, reused and recycled, helping us to set plant goals and metrics.

2. Define Zero Waste: There is no current industry standard for the term “zero waste,” and definitions can vary across companies. So, we identified criteria in which any future zero-waste facility needs to adhere.

3. Prioritize Waste-Reduction Activities: Prioritize projects that enable facility landfill-free designations, starting with: elimination of material, reusing it onsite and then offsite, recycling onsite and then offsite, composting, and converting to energy.

4. Engage Employees and Build a Sustainability Culture: We continue to help our employees envision other uses for material by creating rewards for new waste-reduction ideas and encourage them to develop job functions with the environment in mind. We also target certain byproduct streams for innovative waste-reduction projects and communicate the solutions.

5. Strengthen Supplier Partnerships: We developed a circle of eco-conscious parts suppliers and have resource managers – experts in waste elimination and reduction –assist at our sites.

Next page: Resolve regulatory challenges