A General Motors powertrain complex in Wixom has achieved landfill-free status for waste materials generated directly from its daily operations.


More than 98% of the waste materials from the complex (596 tons annually) are recycled and nearly 2% (or 11 tons annually) are converted to energy at a waste-to-energy facility.


Work at the complex includes building high performance engines, developing racing engines, and developing and testing for production engines. The complex is the third General Motors US facility to reach this achievement. Other GM landfill-free facilities include engine plants in Tonawanda, New York and Flint, Michigan. The three facilities divert over 32,000 tons of waste from landfills each year.


“We have a commitment to reduce waste across all our operations, and our Wixom facility is one example of how we have achieved that locally,” said Ray Tessier, GM group director, environmental services. “It has over 120 people on site and, among other activities, produces 200 engines a week but doesn’t send any waste from those operations to a landfill. The average American generates several pounds of waste a day that will eventually end up in a landfill. “


Items that are recycled or reused at the site this year include 270 tons of cardboard, 37 tons of scrap metal, 35 tons of wood, 13 tons of oil, 11 tons of plastic and 16 tons of paper. About 10 tons of trash is sent to an incinerator and burned to provide electricity. Waste from the site that is diverted from landfills avoids the emission of 569 tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year, according to GM’s calculations. In addition, the generation of waste has been greatly reduced at the site.


Work towards achieving this goal began in 2005 as part of the site’s environmental management initiative.


In North America, GM facilities have reduced non-recycled waste by over 76% since 1997 by either eliminating the generation of waste or increasing recycling. These same North American facilities currently recycle nearly 88% of the waste they generate. Globally, the recycling rate for GM facilities is approximately 86%.