Second GM Plant Bags Landfill Dumping

Second GM Plant Bags Landfill Dumping

General Motors' Tonawanda Engine Plant, the world's largest engine manufacturing facility, has achieved landfill-free status in its manufacturing operations by reducing waste generation, recycling, and converting waste to energy. More than 95% of the waste materials from the plant's manufacturing operations (23,233 tons annually) are recycled and nearly 5% (or 1,060 tons annually) are converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities.

The plant is the second GM plant in the U.S., and one of a very few automotive plants in the world to reach this achievement. The GM Flint Engine South Plant in Flint, Mich., was the first GM plant to achieve zero landfill status in its manufacturing operations in March, 2005.

"The Tonawanda Engine plant is a great example of how the people of General Motors are translating our corporate goal to reduce waste into meaningful progress at our plants," said Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM vice president, environment and energy. "Consider the size of the plant. It has 2,500 people on site and produces over four thousand engines a day -- yet it doesn’t send any waste from those operations to a landfill. The average American generates several pounds of waste a day that will eventually end up in a landfill."

Work towards achieving this goal began in 2001 as part of the plant's ISO 14001 Environmental Management initiatives. “The people at the Tonawanda Engine Plant worked very hard to achieve this goal,” said Plant Manager, John Crabtree. “We are proud of our employees and contractors at Tonawanda for leading the way to reach this milestone.”

From an energy conservation standpoint, the 1,060 tons of plant waste used to produce energy are equivalent to the use of 502 tons of coal in a utility boiler to produce electricity. The power generated is enough to provide the annual electricity needs of more than 250 homes. Tonawanda’s commitment to energy conservation is part of a GM global strategy and has resulted in the plant receiving the 2005 Energy Star Performer Award from General Motors. The plant reduced its energy use by more than 30% since 2000.

In North America, GM facilities have reduced non-recycled waste by over 67% since 1997 by either eliminating the generation of waste or increasing recycling -- currently recycling nearly 88% of the waste they generate. Globally, the recycling rate for GM facilities is approximately 86%, according to company estimates. GM is the only auto manufacturer to date to be inducted into the U.S. EPA WasteWise Hall of Fame.