Global Teams Come Together to “Beat Plastic Pollution”

Aug 28, 2018 10:00 AM ET

Global Teams Come Together to “Beat Plastic Pollution”

Every day, General Motors employees play an important role in helping us build stronger communities as we work to achieve a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. That is especially true on World Environment Day (WED), when our global teams rally during the month of June to amplify environmental outreach activities in their facilities or communities. Each year our sites share their WED plans with the global network and employees have a chance to vote on the most creative and impactful WED outreach activities related to environmental safety and conservation.

This year, 72 manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sites in 16 countries submitted more than 100 WED activities that reflected the 2018 theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution.” Winning facilities for this year’s internal competition include the Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, India; the São Caetano do Sul facility in São Paulo, Brazil; and the Silao facility located in Guanajuato, Mexico.

  • The Talegaon plant rolled out a series of events where employees participated in activities that included the planting of 100 trees, a cleanliness drive, competitions for sharing ideas to combat plastic pollution, and 85 “Pollution Under Control” checkups for employee vehicles. One of the cleaning activities in the local community included more than 50 employees clearing trash, resulting in nearly 840 pounds of waste collected and over 100 volunteer hours.

  • In Brazil, the São Caetano do Sul facility organized an awareness campaign where it covered its coffee break room with plastic materials and photos of animals affected by plastic waste, such as birds and turtles, with a sign that read “If you felt uncomfortable, imagine them.” To drive engagement, employees were challenged to send a 15-second video showing how their family strived to “beat plastic pollution” during WED. The facility also hosted a sustainable fair where employees purchased eco-friendly items, such as T-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles, from partner companies.

  • In the month leading up to WED, the Silao facility organized a series of employee engagement activities, including ornamental plant adoption and removing hazardous materials that were expired or improperly stored. On June 5th, the environmental team invited commercial partners, contractors, external business partners and the local community to participate in an annual fair centered around beating plastic pollution. At the event, participants set up stands with activities and information about the dangers of plastic contamination. Event attendees also decorated signage that spelled out “GM SILAO 2018” using plastic waste.

In total, our global employees participated in 21 community cleanups, 32 environmental education-related activities and seven tree-planting events in honor of WED.

On an ongoing basis, our manufacturing facilities worldwide – landfill-free plants and all others – on average recycle or reuse 89 percent of the waste generated. We’re also a founding member of NextWave, an initiative working to develop the first commercial-scale ocean-bound plastics supply chain to reduce plastic pollution.

Another example of how we’re working to reduce environmental impact is our Do Your Part campaign, where we recycled 6 million water bottles from six General Motors facilities and the Flint, Michigan community. The bottles were given a second life and turned into fleece to be used as noise-reducing fabric insulation covers for the 2017 Chevrolet Equinox V-6 engine and air filtration components in 10 General Motors facilities. As part of this process, we convened 11 businesses to join the supply web to help guide the closed-loop recycling and material reuse.

To learn more about our broader efforts to reduce our environmental impact, click here to read our latest sustainability report.