Ford to Cut Landfill Waste by 40% per Vehicle
Cutting waste-to-landfill at Ford's Van Dyke Transmission Plant has always been important to workers there, but they weren't satisfied until last fall, when a small, diligent local committee played a major role in solving a nagging 10-ton problem.
The solution – a way to keep 10 tons' worth of 8-foot-long, 350-pound fabric coolant filters from being landfilled monthly – means the Van Dyke facility is Ford's first North American zero waste-to-landfill transmission plant and now diverts a total of 15 tons of waste-from-landfill monthly.
Moreover, the solution exemplifies how Ford already is making progress on plans to reduce the amount of waste-to-landfill from its facilities worldwide as outlined in the company's new five-year global waste reduction strategy. Under the plan, waste-to-landfill will drop to just 13.4 pounds – or by 40 percent – per vehicle by 2016.
The comprehensive strategy covers all angles of Ford's waste reduction plans – from working with global suppliers to use more eco-friendly packaging, to enabling employees such as those at Van Dyke to play an active role in coming up with ways to help Ford reach its goals. Even kitchen waste is addressed.
"Reducing waste is a crucial part of our strategy toward building a world-class manufacturing system," said John Fleming, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. "By applying standard waste reduction processes across our global facilities, we are, through our actions – and not just words – improving the quality of life where we do business."
There can also be financial benefits: In 2012, Ford generated $225 million in revenue through the recycling of 568,000 tons of scrap metal in the U.S. and Canada alone.
The resulting financial and environmental benefits mean Ford's new five-year global waste reduction strategy encompasses the company's overall "Reduce, reuse and recycle" commitment that applies to everything from the vehicles it builds to the facilities where they are made.
The new strategy also builds on the success the company saw between 2007 and 2011, when the amount of waste sent to landfill per vehicle dropped from 37.9 to 22.7 pounds – a 40 percent reduction. Reductions were accomplished through the launch of new initiatives and programs, such as paint waste recycling at facilities in Australia, Thailand, India and Spain.
Ford plans to continue reducing the amount of waste-to-landfill by emphasizing prevention, minimization, reuse and recycle of waste whenever possible. Specific actions include trying to reduce or eliminate the amount of certain kinds of waste from entering Ford facilities in the first place.
Other actions identified as key near-term goals for waste reduction at Ford facilities around the world include:
Identifying the five largest volume waste-to-landfill streams at each plant, developing plans to reduce each and tracking progress
Minimizing waste by leveraging the Ford production system – a continuously improving, flexible and disciplined common global production system that encompasses a set of principles and processes to drive lean manufacturing
Improving waste sorting procedures to make recycling and reuse easier
Investing in new technologies that minimize waste, such as dry-machining
Expanding programs that deal with managing specific kinds of waste like metallic particles from the grinding process and paint sludgeDave Lewis, environmental engineer at the Van Dyke plant, said he believes one particular aspect of the new global waste strategy could yield the best results – enabling and encouraging local personnel to affect change.
"It's very empowering to be able to address a problem that is so important – and not just to our plant or our company – but society in general," says Lewis. "Without the power to implement such change, some of the best solutions could never see the light of day."
Between 2010 and 2012, Van Dyke kept 111 tons of waste from landfill. Van Dyke became a zero waste-to-landfill plant in late 2012 after the environmental committee there figured out on their own how to deal with giant, 8-foot-long, 350-pound fabric coolant filters that were creating 10 tons of waste a month.
The local committee worked with Ford's Powertrain Operations and the Environmental Quality Office to develop a way to properly manage the waste filters by finding separate recyclers for the used filters and the materials they contained post-use. A video showcasing Van Dyke's waste-to-landfill reduction efforts can be found here.
Robert Brown, vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, said Van Dyke is being used as a model for Ford facilities around the world, exemplifying how Ford will succeed in reaching the goals outlined in the new waste reduction strategy.
"We are always evaluating how our operations handle waste around the world, and we consider Van Dyke just one of many successes we've had," says Brown. "We use Van Dyke's waste reduction efforts to not only exemplify what can be done, but what should be done."
Ford's push to establish more zero waste-to-landfill facilities globally is one element of the company's commitment to reducing its environmental impact. Other initiatives include:
Greenhouse gas emissions: Reduce from manufacturing facilities by 30 percent per vehicle between 2010 and 2025
Water use: Reduce the amount used in the manufacture of each vehicle by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015
Energy consumption: 25 percent reduction in average consumption per vehicle globally between 2011 and 2016
SOURCE Ford Motor Company
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.