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The Business Case for Zero Waste

This blueprint summarizes General Motors' (GM) waste-reduction strategies and global landfill-free program. It is intended to help companies of all sizes and industries reduce waste and create efficiencies.

GM recycles 84 percent of its worldwide manufacturing waste and has 111 landfill-free facilities with a goal of 125 globally by 2020. The company has more landfill-free facilities and recycles more waste from its worldwide facilities than any other automaker. Implementing a landfill-free program requires investment and a long-term view.

Waste reduction often enhances productivity, quality, efficiency and throughput. GM asserts that if a project is not cost-neutral or revenue generating, a company should rethink it. To improve a business case, a company may re-evaluate the project using other suppliers, substitute a different material, or seek out energy options, logistic changes, geographical options, or other processing technologies. At times, GM has reduced its waste by making it a resource for recycled-content products. To manage byproducts, GM uses an electronic tracking system with a goal of recovering all resources to their highest value.

The report also includes the 9 steps to achieving landfill-free status, best practices, trends, and an outlook for zero waste.

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