Toyota Awarded for Voluntary Hazardous Waste Reduction

We heartily agree with those who say that metrics for gaging a product's environmental merits have to encompass the "life cycle" view. At the most basic level this means, for example, that a very efficient car made in a wasteful process does not pass muster. Same for a low mileage vehicle made in a highly resource efficient plant. On balance, the "use phase" of the low mileage vehicle outweighs gains made by the efficient manufacturing process. So when we see a car maker win awards for both categories its a very positive sign. Even better when that car maker is one of the few with a sales growth and increased profitability. Who might we be talking of? Toyota of course. Pictured here is the Toyota Estima hybrid van, platform partner of the Sienna minivan currently made at the award winning Indiana facility, and possibly scheduled for US introduction in a year or two.

Substance of the award follows. A link to the full story, in context, is included.
CHICAGO, Nov. 29 "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today presented an award to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc (TMMI) for voluntarily eliminating 1.7 million pounds a year of hazardous waste from its manufacturing process. TMMI joined EPA's National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Program in April of 2004. Since then, TMMI identified its purge solvent and fuel tank primer as two areas where waste could be minimized".

"Following some experimentation and innovation, TMMI was eventually able to reduce its purge solvent waste by more than half -- from 6.60 to 3.02 pounds per vehicle. This is an annual reduction of over 1.3 million pounds of hazardous waste. TMMI was also able to eliminate its fuel tank primer process resulting in a 400,000 pound annual reduction in barium...EPA's goal is to work with industry and the public to reduce the presence of the 30 priority chemicals in hazardous waste by 50 percent before the end of this year, compared with amounts generated in 1991".

For more information about the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities click here.

A Christmas reminder for the rest of the car makers. We're checking our lists to see who's whining and lobbying and who's doing the nice stuff. Voluntary measures work only if you volunteer. So lets on with it!