Time to Cash Out

Earlier this month, General Motors announced that GM recycles 92% of its waste and that more than half of its manufacturing plants around the world have attained “Zero Waste”. GM defines “Zero Waste” as no manufacturing waste to landfill, 97% minimum recycled and the balance used as fuel to create electricity.

GM also says that it recovers over a billion dollars annually from the recycled waste. Since GM reported 2010 pretax earnings of about $5.6 billion, it appears that proceeds from recycling accounted for about 18% of GM’s pretax. Not too shabby.

Along similar lines, Waste Management, the guys with that pick up the trash, report that, in 2010, they recycled over 10 million tons from trash that was headed for the landfill. They say that 10 million tons of trash is enough cover a football field with a pile over two miles high. Yep… the 10 million tons of other peoples’ trash was converted into Waste Management’s cash.

So, manufacturers like GM (and many others) are converting their trash to cash. Folks like Waste Management are changing their business model to profit from the stuff they pick up, instead of burying it.

If you have a dumpster — or dumpsters — at your facility, make it part of your regular tour of the floor to take a look at what, and how much, is inside. Whatever it is, your business has already paid for it, and will pay Waste Management or one of their competitors to haul it away. Haul it away they will, but as likely to a recycling facility as to a landfill. A check on how many dumpster loads are carried away from your place each month might also prove interesting.

The reports from General Motors and from Waste Management tell us that trash = cash, in amounts that may make a significant difference to you income statement. Do well by doing good.

Thoughtful comments are always welcome. Click on the title of this post to open the comments section.

…  Chuck

  There is a lot more information on recycling and waste reduction on the Jera website, www.JeraSustainableDevelopment.com. Check under Context – Resource Utilization