Waste not want not
General Motors South Africa (GMSA) is preparing for the future! The company has employed a “zero landfill waste” strategy and aims to achieve this by 2015. A dedicated, full-time environmental team is driving the project, constantly investigating new ways to make GMSA a greener organisation.
“We aim to reduce and eventually eliminate the amount of waste sent to landfill sites over the next three years,” says Lushen Govender, GMSA facilities area manager.
The company not only talks the green talk, it has proof to show for its efforts. Non-recyclable waste, produced during the manufacturing process, is measured by kilogram per vehicle produced. Govender tells FOCUS that, in 2008, the amount of non-recyclable waste collected at GMSA’s Port Elizabeth plants was measured at 34 kg per unit.
“Through the diligent work from the team this has dropped considerably to 9 kg per unit, an improvement of 25 kg per unit,” reveals Govender. “What this means for us is that we are pushing the boundaries in terms of incorporating reducing, recycling and re-using into our business model.”
He adds: “GMSA treats its waste streams as a resource. Recycled waste has the potential of being used as a commodity by other organisations or individuals who see inherent value in it.”
Govender feels the above can positively impact the burden of waste to landfill sites. “Waste is being diverted to recyclers, further resulting in less raw materials being sourced for these particular streams that are supplemented by recyclable material.”
GMSA is additionally putting plans in place to go 80 to 85 percent green across all its plants over the next two to three years. “We are aggressively pursuing turning two of our sites in Port Elizabeth into zero waste landfill plants with the other two manufacturing sites planned for the 2015 frame,” says Govender.
He explains however that it’s not an easy process. “There is major research and development involved in achieving this prestigious status but we are up for the challenge as we create synergies between our suppliers, manufacturing processes and the environment.”
GMSA employees have also been included in the sustainability plans and will be encouraged to collect common waste generated at their homes to bring to their workplace for disposal in containers provided by the company at a central location.
This initiative is designed to make employees more environmentally conscious and to encourage responsible waste separation both in the workplace and at home.