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General Motors Serves As Model For Material Reuse

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Chevy Camaro on assembly line

To meet its manufacturing demands, General Motors needs tons upon tons of materials. All of these materials that it brings in, however, do not necessarily make it into the finished cars. When punching out shapes in metal to be formed into car parts or using similar processes, there are bound to be scraps and other byproducts that are still viable materials. What should be done with them?

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General Motors saw these materials as an income opportunity, and have turned the sale of these products and savings from reusing materials into one billion additional dollars of revenue a year. That is certainly not a small number to sneeze at. John Bradburn is the leader of the waste reduction plan at GM for the past 25 years, and he now has it down to a science. For instance, cardboard boxes used to carry parts from suppliers can be processed into the padding under a car’s headliner. Bradburn also coordinates the sale of material scraps and byproducts through a complex network of contacts and business partners.

The manufacturing world has taken notice of the money that GM is generating and saving, and wants to know the secret. GM is working hard with business and government leaders to help standardize the process so that other manufacturers can take advantage of the system. As we start to realize that our planet’s raw resources are finite, this recycling becomes more and more important.

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The ultimate goal of the project is to build a large system to match companies and individuals with what is needed and resources being offered. If the database is successful, it could completely change the way companies think about manufacturing and help reduce the strain on our planet to provide resources.

News Source: GreenBiz