HMA is tipping their green hat to the success of the company’s longstanding “Green House” initiative, especially since it became the first zero-waste-to-landfill auto plant in North America in 2001, and ultimately set off an industry-leading trend within the company.
“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.”
HMA’s green initiative can be found in the very beginning of the auto making process within the stamping department where 80 million pounds of scrap metal is recycled every year.
In the stamping department, large machines turn flat sheets of steel and aluminum into exterior parts for the Honda Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline.
“This is where it all starts, as far as the renewable materials at Honda,” said Jeff Turnes, manager of the stamping department. “This will end up being a side panel, a door, roof, hood, or tailgate area.”
The scrap metal produced from the cut-outs provides just one of the many ways Honda chooses to stay green.
The scrap metal is sent down a scrap chute and is sent to large loading trailers that are picked up by a steel recycling company.
“Here at Honda we are committed to not negatively impacting the environment; we want to make it better,” said Mark McNally, environmental manager for HMA.
“At HMA, our main focus is to minimize the amount of waste we generate and to manage the waste that we do generate responsibly.”
The amount of waste from North America Honda plants being sent out to landfills has decreased dramatically over the last 10 years.
Numbers went from 62.8 pounds of industrial waste sent to landfills for every automobile produced in the fiscal year of March 31, 2001, to an estimated 1.8 pounds per automobile in the current fiscal year of 2012.
Honda reports that the only two remaining “landfill waste streams” in all of Honda’s North America plants are from Honda’s Mexico automobile and motorcycle plants where paper, plastic and food waste from associate break rooms and cafeterias result in waste where there is no more environmentally responsible means of disposal.
Due to Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the byproduct of the paint treatment process for aluminum body panels at Honda plants in East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio are deemed as non-recyclable.
Honda says that it is currently working with the EPA to find alternative methods of disposal.
The company continues to try and find different methods and ideas in which to reduce waste at its auto plants, especially by getting associates involved through green initiatives like minimizing paper and plastic waste from cafeterias and improving parts packaging for easy recycling.
“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,” Heyob said.
“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.”
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