To lessen the environmental impact of the oil spilled at the Gulf of Mexico, General Motors has come up with an innovative method to convert the oil-soaked plastic boom material into 100,000 pounds of plastic resin that will be used for its brand new Chevrolet Volt.
For this project, GM has teamed up with Heritage Environmental, which will gather the boom material, as well as with Mobile Fluid Recovery, Lucent Polymers and GDC Inc. This move saves the waste that would have filled the country's landfills.
GM said that around 100 miles of the material collected from Alabama and Louisiana coasts will be converted into plastic that will be used for the vehicle’s components, which are made of 25% boom material and 25% recycled tires from GM's Mildford Proving Ground vehicle test facility.
Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety policy, said that under GM’s overall strategy, “creative recycling” is just one way to reduce the environmental impact. GM reuses and recycles material by-products at its 76 landfill-free facilities everyday. Robinson describes this as “a good example” of utilizing this capability and applying it to a greater magnitude.
"This was purely a matter of helping out,” said John Bradburn, manager of GM’s waste-reduction efforts. “If sent to a landfill, these materials would have taken hundreds of years to begin to break down, and we didn’t want to see the spill further impact the environment. We knew we could identify a beneficial reuse of this material given our experience.”