Inspiration Comes in Many Forms on #AmericaRecyclesDay

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms on #AmericaRecyclesDay

Turning one person's waste into something worthwhile drives us to be more sustainable.

A bat house repurposed from a scrap Chevy Volt battery cover is installed high in the air.

GM employees recycled 3,000 pounds of coffee grounds from the Warren Tech Center, taking the nitrogen- and phosphorous-rich grounds home to use in their gardens.

Oil-soaked booms from the Gulf of Mexico were converted into air deflecting baffles for the Chevrolet Volt.

John Bradburn shows a group of kids the stalactite concept generated from Corvette manufacturing scrap.

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 3:25pm

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If you scroll through Pinterest or Etsy, you’ll find mason jars turned into lighting fixtures, a barn door repurposed as a dining room table or pallets reworked into coffee tables. Creative recycling and reuse is the “in” thing and these elements serve as conversation pieces that show off your style and sustainable lifestyle.

In recognition of America Recycles Day, we list our top 10 industrial recycling projects. In line with Pinterest, doing them is only half the battle–the other half is spreading the word so that more people see that they could tackle it, too. More ideas spark and the recycling movement builds.

Whether you’re at home seeking inspiration for how an old ladder can complete your shabby chic look or you’re a company striving to reduce your landfill load, every little project helps.

GM’s Top 10 Recycling & Reuse Projects 

  1. Reusing 1,200 shipping crates as raised urban garden beds.
  2. Turning leftover adhesive from Corvette manufacturing into artificial stalactites for bats.
  3. Donating scrap vehicle sound-absorption material to insulate Empowerment Plan coats that transform into sleeping bags for the homeless—a project led by a Detroit humanitarian.
  4. Reworking pallets to form wood beams for the homebuilding industry.
  5. Converting scrap Chevrolet Volt battery covers into wood duck nesting boxes.
  6. Collecting coffee grounds for employees to use in their gardens.
  7. Recycling cardboard packaging into Buick Verano and Lacrosse headliners to provide acoustic padding that keeps the inside of the car library-quiet.
  8. Recycling test tires into the manufacturing of air and water baffles for a variety of GM vehicles.
  9. Composting food scraps to form nutrient-rich natural fertilizer for gardens.
  10. Converting 227 miles of oil-soaked booms off the Alabama and Louisiana coasts from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill into two production year’s worth of air deflectors in the Chevrolet Volt.

GM recently helped launch the  Reuse Opportunity Collaboratory Detroit, a bit of a trash-to-treasure initiative bringing together Michigan institutions, businesses, and entrepreneurs to develop zero-waste partnerships in which one organization’s waste becomes another’s raw material.

The program kicked off this fall, drawing 80 people to brainstorm creative reuse projects. The room was full of entrepreneurs, automakers, suppliers, NGOs and artists networking to see how they can use one another’s scrap.

So where do you find your inspiration?  Do you have a salvaged, recycled or repurposed statement piece in your home or office? Tell us in the comments or tweet @GM using #AmericaRecyclesDay.

CATEGORY: Environment