Joann Muller at Forbes reports on how General Motors is recycling or reusing "90 percent of its manufacturing waste" by rethinking old ways of doing things and establishing new waste distribution systems:
When an automaker’s stamping press cuts the shape of a car door out of a flat sheet of steel, for example, there’s a large hole reserved for the window. In most auto factories, the leftover steel cutouts are stacked up, then sold to a foundry, where they are melted with other bits of steel and converted into scrap metal. That’s one way to recycle, but the melting and reprocessing of steel costs money and consumes a lot of energy.
General Motors sees those leftover steel cutouts, roughly four feet square, as a marketable commodity. It sells them directly to a local steel fabricator, Blue Star Steel, which uses them to stamp out small brackets for heating and air conditioning equipment for other industries, skipping the foundry altogether. Everyone benefits: GM maximizes the value of that leftover material; Blue Star Steel saves money buying scrap steel, and the environment is spared additional greenhouse gas emissions from a foundry.
Read the rest on how they do it, including lessons for other businesses.