Automakers Reduce Waste, Emissions

A recent American Automobile Manufacturers Assn. report documents the efforts of Chrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp. (GM), in cutting waste and emissions from the manufacturing process. The companies' efforts included:

  • Redesign of elastic-and-plastic seat covers to an all-plastic seat cover by Chrysler that will divert 90,000 pounds of plastic from landfill disposal each year.
  • A 50% reduction of manufacturing waste from 1993 to 1997 through controlled material use, improved fluids management, and increased use of returnable packaging by an Ohio Ford plant. Another Ford assembly plant reduced solvent use by 230,000 gallons per year. Ford is also conducting research on the potential use of magnesium versus aluminum for use as a lightweight transmission case.
  • GM's change from a painted two-piece steering column shroud to a molded-in-color process system at Delphi Saginaw, which reduced paint emission by seven tons per year. An Ohio truck assembly plant eliminated solvent emissions from the spray gun cleaning process of basecoat application, reducing volatile organic compound emissions by 280 tons per year. The GM research and development center at the Technical Center in Warren, Mich., reduced the volume of electroplating wastes by nearly 15,000 gallons.
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