Subaru's Green Manufacturing Plant
Toyota and Honda get the lion's share of TreeHugger's automobile attention these days, with their hybrids and prototypes that promise a reduced dependence on oil and the next generation of automobile transportation; among it all, their Japanese counterparts at Subaru have remained relatively quiet on the green car front. Sure, we see promising starts, like their electric car or new hybrid prototype, but still haven't seen a big move from the carmaker (though we hear whispers that they're going to start making cars with diesel engines soon). Either way, we're glad to see that the green revolution hasn't left them in the dust: according to a back issue of Drive: The Magazine from Subaru, Subaru of Indiana Automotive's (SIA) manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana recycles 97 percent of all excess or leftover materials (like steel, glass, plastic, wood, paper and glass) from the manufacturing process. The green processes include:
- "SIA's wheel supplier uses brass lug nuts to hold wheels in place during shipping. Previously, these were thrown away – 33,000 pounds of brass per year. They are now reused until they're no longer serviceable, then they're recycled. This is an example of recycling helping to reduce costs rather than raising them.
- Paint sludge formerly thrown away is dried to a powder, then shipped to a plastics manufacturer that mixes the dried sludge with other plastic compounds. The manufacturer's end products are useful devices such as parking-lot bumpers and guardrail safety blocks that absorb impact when struck by a vehicle.
- Solvents used in the painting process are cleaned and recovered through SIA's on-site recovery system. The paint shop then reuses the solvent."