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August 29, 2007
As of May, the GM Powertrain Baltimore transmission facility has been operating with landfill-free status for waste materials generated directly from its daily operations. This year, approximately 97 percent of the waste materials from the site (7,300 tons) will be recycled or reused and 3 percent (215 tons) will be converted to energy at a waste-to-energy facility. In 2006, the plant was close to landfill-free status, with 99 percent of its waste recycled, reused or converted to energy.
Items that are recycled or reused at the site this year will include approximately 510 tons of aluminum, 600 tons of steel, 10 tons of alloy metals, 360 tons of wood pallets, 3 tons of paper, 20 tons in empty totes and drums, 250 tons of used oil, 220 tons waste water residual, and 5,400 tons of returnable packaging.
Part of the challenge in reaching landfill-free status is finding uses for recyclable materials. Today, even the tiniest scrap of trash is put to beneficial reuse. Aluminum is recycled by GM foundries that produce engine and transmission components. Steel, alloy metals, and paper are sent to recyclers for reconstitution into a variety of products. Used oil is reconditioned for use as a manufacturing fuel additive. Wood pallets are given to Baltimore area fire departments or sent to energy recovery. Empty drums and totes are refurbished and used again and again.
The plant’s total elimination of waste is having an immediate impact on carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions. Over 13,000 tons of CO 2 will no longer enter the atmosphere each year as a result of the plant’s manufacturing operations, which avoid CO 2 emissions normally generated when waste is landfilled.
Additional reductions in CO 2 emissions will occur when GM’s hybrid vehicles using the new two-mode transmission begin appearing on roadways late this year. A 25 percent increase in fuel economy, and associated CO 2 emission reductions, will result from the hybrid system. The hybrid system uses both electric motors and a gasoline engine to power the vehicle.
Previously, General Motors announced a goal to reduce CO 2 emissions from its North American manufacturing facilities by 40 percent by 2010, based on 2000 baseline levels. In addition, General Motors recently became the first carmaker to join the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a non-partisan group of companies and non-governmental organizations formed to support a mandatory, economy-wide, market-driven approach to climate protection.
August 27, 2007
Photos: General Motors