GM Channels Edison with Innovative Landfill-Free Program

May 6, 2013 9:30 AM ET

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.
― Thomas A. Edison

This quote is fitting given that General Motors was awarded a bronze Edison Award for its global landfill-free program.

Now in its 26th year, the Edison Awards represent the spirit of innovation personified by inventor Thomas Edison, inspiring America’s drive to remain at the forefront of creativity and ingenuity in the global economy. The competition honors game-changing products, services and processes.

Of course, we wouldn’t call any of our waste “junk”. We like to refer to it as simply a resource out of place.  This type of mindset has led GM to recycle 90 percent of its global manufacturing waste and have 105 landfill-free facilities that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations. These efforts help engage the community, reduce environmental impact and generate reuse and recycling revenue.

John Bradburn, GM’s waste-reduction manager, spoke to Edison Award attendees about reimagining waste, and highlighted a few creative ways we recycle some of it into car parts, facility supplies and even items that benefit the community—from urban garden beds to coats for the homeless.

As more companies come together and collaborate on how to keep resources in use, just imagine the possibilities and innovation ahead.