The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has officially commended Toyota for voluntarily eliminating 1.7 million pounds a year of hazardous waste from its manufacturing processes.

EPA Region 5 presented an award to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana yesterday (29 November).

Since TMMI joined the EPA's national partnership for environmental priorities programme in April 2004, it has identified its purge solvent and fuel tank primer as two areas where waste could be minimised.

TMMI reduced its purge solvent waste by more than half - from 6.60 to 3.02 pounds per vehicle - an annual reduction of over 1.3 million pounds of hazardous waste.
 
It was also able to eliminate its fuel tank primer process resulting in an annual reduction in barium of 400,000 pounds.
 
The voluntary programme is designed for businesses and manufacturers to become more environmentally aware and adopt a resource conservation ethic resulting in less waste along with more recycling and environment-friendly products.

In a statement, the EPA said: "Participating companies throughout the nation are learning that reducing or eliminating waste can boost production efficiency, improve their image and increase profits."

The agency wants to reduce the presence of 30 priority chemicals in hazardous waste by 50% before the end of 2005, compared with amounts generated in 1991.