GM and MillerCoors Implement Landfill-free Business Processes

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – General Motors (GM) and beer maker MillerCoors are two of the leading companies working hard to achieve “land-fill free” status for their business processes. GM has earned this status for 105 of its facilities worldwide, while MillerCoors had achieved the same for its largest US brewery.

GM had set a goal for itself in 2011 to achieve a hundred landfill-free manufacturing sites and 20 non-manufacturing sites by 2020. At present, nearly 50 percent of its plants are recycling an average of 97 percent of their waste. The remaining three percent is being converted into energy. In 2011, GM re-used or recycled more than 2.5 million metric tons at its global manufacturing sites, which is the equivalent of 38 million full garbage bags.

The company says that generating waste is unavoidable for a car manufacturer as large as GM, but it is finding innovative solutions to repurpose it so that it does not end up in the landfills. Other GM processes call for composting food scraps that are turned into humus, recycling test tires to use in the manufacturing of air and water baffles for GM vehicles, and using cardboard packaging for acoustical padding. As per the company’s estimates, its annual by-product recycling and reuse revenue stood at about $1 billion as of October, 2012.

MillerCoors shifted focus to achieving landfill-free waste processes in 2010 when one of its shop floor technicians, Kelly Harris, suggested process changes. By July 2013, the company had already achieved this status for five of its sites, including its largest US brewery in Golden, CO. To achieve this feat, the company invested about $1 million in new choppers, bailers and compactors over the last two years.

MillerCoors recycles or reuses 100 percent of the glass, plastics, paperboard, metal and brewing by-products such as spent grain. Other refuse such as cafeteria waste and floor sweepings are sent to a waste-to-energy facility. Harris said in a statement that the company has developed a way to do things differently and implemented new manufacturing processes at the brewery to improve sustainability.

Source: Business Green

Image Credit: Flickr via photologue_np

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