Honda announced today that it has achieved one of the most important targets in the company’s longstanding “Green Factory” initiative in North America: zero-waste-to-landfill. Ten of 14 Honda manufacturing plants in North America are now operating with zero waste to landfill, while the remaining four plants are functioning with “virtually zero” waste to landfill.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, in Lincoln, Ala., became the first zero-waste-to-landfill auto plant in North America at the outset of production in 2001, setting off an industry-leading trend within the company. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, in Greensburg, Ind., also started production as a zero-waste-to-landfill plant in 2008.
Waste sent to landfills has been dramatically reduced at Honda auto plants throughout North America—from 62.8 pounds of industrial waste to landfills for every automobile produced in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001 (FY2001), to an estimated 1.8 pounds per automobile in the current fiscal year 2012.
Among all of its 14 plants in North America, Honda now sends less than one-half of 1 percent of all operating waste to landfills. Remaining waste product is either recycled or used for energy recovery.
“This is an important achievement and a tremendous reflection on the commitment and continuous effort of Honda associates throughout our company over the past 10 years to reduce waste from Honda’s production operations,” said Karen Heyob, manager at Honda of America, Mfg, Inc., who is responsible for Honda’s green factory initiatives in North America. “This is an even more significant achievement when you consider that we also produce in North America the engines and transmissions that power our products.”
Since the establishment of zero-waste-to-landfill production in its Alabama plant in 2001, Honda has undertaken a major initiative at plants throughout the region to eliminate landfill waste. To understand what comprised each plant’s landfill waste, Honda associates went “Dumpster diving,” looking at the composition of the waste material resulting from all of its production activities.
As a result of these efforts over the past 10 years, the company has prevented an estimated 4.4 billion pounds of waste material from being sent to landfills, which is equivalent to the amount of household waste produced by 2.8 million Americans, roughly the population of Chicago, in a single year.
“There are hundreds of stories of associate innovation and challenging spirit that add up to this significant advancement in our commitment to more environmentally responsible manufacturing,” added Heyob. “And while it is an important milestone, it is not the end of the race for Honda, as we continue to work to eliminate waste, improve energy efficiency and reduce the total environmental footprint of producing Honda products in North America.
The only two remaining landfill waste streams in all of Honda’s North American production activities are: (1) paper, plastic and food waste from associate break rooms and cafeterias at Honda’s Mexico automobile and motorcycle plants, where there exists no more environmentally responsible means of disposal; and (2) a byproduct of the paint pretreatment process for aluminum body panels at both the East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio, auto plants, which, due to EPA regulations, is non-recyclable. Honda is working with the EPA to identify an alternative means of disposal.