Ford to accelerate waste reduction effort

Ford is aiming for a 40 percent cut in the waste it sends to the landfill per vehicle produced by 2016 as part of a new five-year global waste reduction plan.

Meeting the goal would see just 13.4 pounds (6.1 kilograms) per vehicle sent to the landfill between 2011 and 2016, building on the drop from 37.9 pounds (17.2 kilograms) to 22.7 pounds (10.3 kilograms) achieved between 2007 and 2011.

Under the new strategy, the carmaker intends to stop certain kinds of waste from entering its facilities.

This includes identifying the five largest volume waste-to-landfill streams at each plant before developing reduction plans, improving waste-sorting procedures to make recycling and reuse easier as well as investing in new technologies that minimize waste, such as dry machining.

Existing programs dealing with specific kinds of waste, including metallic particles from the grinding process and paint sludge, will also be expanded.

Ford said the focus on waste reduction would also have financial benefits, citing the $225 million revenue it generated last year from recycling 568,000 tons (515 million kilograms) of scrap metal in the U.S. and Canada alone.

"Reducing waste is a crucial part of our strategy toward building a world-class manufacturing system," said John Fleming, executive vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs. "By applying standard waste reduction processes across our global facilities, we are, through our actions  and not just words  improving the quality of life where we do business."

Ford's waste target sits alongside its other sustainability goals, which include targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing facilities by 30 percent per vehicle between 2010 and 2025, cut water consumption per vehicle manufactured by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015, and deliver a 25 percent decrease in average energy consumption per vehicle globally between 2011 and 2016.

Reprinted with permission from BusinessGreen.

Image of landfill provided by Huguette Roe via Shutterstock.