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Other than the few car manufacturers that solely focus on electric and hybrid vehicles, General Motors (GM) seems to be one of the companies making the largest effort to reduce waste, energy use, and carbon emissions. Although it is hardly acting selflessly in its drive to reduce its environmental impact, recently reporting, in its sustainability report, that in 2012 it managed to generate $1 billion from recycling initiatives.
Through various processes GM manages to recycle 90% of its waste at manufacturing plants around the world, operating a total of 105 fully landfill-free facilities, and with plans to increase this number by 125 by 2020.
In plants around India, Thailand, and Russia, all wooden pallets, that would normally be skipped after unloaded, have been replaced with reusable plastic pallets, saving 566 tonnes of waste, and the installation of new painting robots has saved up to 200 tonnes from the two facilities where they are in use.
By thinking of all by-products as useful, marketable products GM has managed to reduce the total waste per vehicle produced since 2010 by 25 kilogrammes.
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Recycling at GM plants (The DETROIT Bureau)
As well as the push to reduce waste, GM has also taken a keen interest in reducing energy use, and the carbon emissions produced; lowering energy use by seven percent since 2010, and carbon emissions by five percent in the same time period.
Through a combination of solar arrays, landfill gas, and biomass energy, GM boasts a renewable energy generating capacity of 60MW across all facilities, nearly half of its 125MW renewable energy target. In total initiatives to reduce energy usage, and therefore energy costs, have saved GM $66 million.
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As the largest car manufacturer in the world GM already offers six different EV models, and plans to put an extra 500,000 electric or hybrid vehicles on US roads by 2017; whilst at the same time doubling the number of fuel efficient cars that it offers.
Chevy Spark (Motor Trend)
Dan Akerson, the chairman and chief executive of GM, believes in his company’s drive to become a more sustainable business, stating that “sustainability can deliver revenue opportunities, cost savings and risk mitigation.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com