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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Ford Mexican Manufacturing Plants Are Landfill-Free


Ford Motor Co. achieved zero waste-to-landfill status at its Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant in Mexico, its 16th annual Sustainability report highlights. That achievement makes all of its Mexican manufacturing plants landfill-free.

Achievements at the Mexican manufacturing plants will help Ford achieve its goal of reducing landfill waste globally by 40 percent per vehicle produced from 2011 to 2016. Ford reduced global per-vehicle landfill waste by 40 percent from 2007 to 2011. Since 2013, Ford has reduced per-vehicle landfill waste by 21 percent.

“What makes this noteworthy is that now we can say that all of our Ford of Mexico manufacturing plants are landfill-free,” said John Viera, global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters for Ford, during a webinar the company hosted last week.

Ford started reducing landfill waste at its Mexican plants five years ago. Almost 45 tons of cafeteria waste are composted and reused by farmers, solvents are recycled, and scrap aluminum is collected for reuse.

A total of 27 Ford facilities have achieved zero landfill-to-waste status: Thirteen are in North America, seven in Europe, five in Asia Pacific and three in South America.

Hazardous waste is not so easy to reduce

Reducing hazardous waste is proving to be difficult for Ford.

In 2014, its facilities saw an 11.4 percent increase in hazardous waste, and hazardous waste per-vehicle increased by 13 percent since 2013. However, the amount of hazardous waste per vehicle decreased by 10 percent over the last five years.

Ford attributes the increase in hazardous waste to the launch of plants in China and the way China defines regulation of hazardous waste. Ford states that it has chosen to target eliminating “the landfill of hazardous waste first, because this provides the quickest and most cost-effective benefits to human health and the environment.”

How Ford reduces landfill waste

Ford uses a variety of waste reduction technologies and programs to meet its goals. Examples include:

  • Ford implemented a minimum quantity lubricant (MQL) machining process to reduce waste by over 80 percent for each engine it produces, in addition to saving water and oil. It has implemented this process at six plants in North America and Europe.

  • Five of its U.S. plants send paint sludge to DTE Energy to be recycled and in 2014 this eliminated over 1,300 tons of waste.

  • Two of Ford’s plants in China started using a non-landfill treatment method in 2014 for their wastewater treatment sludge that removes 2,800 metric tons of waste from landfill annually.

  • Ford has reduced packaging waste in many of its plants, including its Chennai Assembly Plant in India, by using returnable and reusable packaging materials.

  • Ford recycles grinding swarf at U.S. and Canadian facilities which eliminated up to three million pounds of waste sent to landfill every year.

Ford acknowledges that its successes, including reducing landfill waste, are part of a journey. Or, as Viera said: “This is a journey. We are not done with the journey. We need to continue making ongoing progress.”

Image credit: Flickr/randychiu

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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