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Raw materials go in, Subarus - and nothing else - come out of zero-landfill factory

The website for Subaru of Indiana Automotive's (SIA) manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana almost looks like an EPA page, full of talk of wetlands and wildlife. Considering how the plant operates, though, this isn't outrageous. This is Subaru's only plant in the U.S. and is where the Subaru Outback, Baja, Legacy and B9 Tribeca line of vehicles are made. The plant is green because nothing from the manufacturing process ever enters a landfill. Everything is recycled. Well, almost everything. Subaru says that 97 percent of all excess or leftover materials like steel, plastic, wood, paper and glass go to recycling outlets. The other 3 percent is sent to incinerators in Indianapolis and helps generate steam. Green processes include:
  • "SIA's wheel supplier uses brass lug nuts to hold wheels in place during shipping. Previously, these were thrown away – 33,000 pounds of brass per year. They are now reused until they're no longer serviceable, then they're recycled. This is an example of recycling helping to reduce costs rather than raising them.
  • Paint sludge formerly thrown away is dried to a powder, then shipped to a plastics manufacturer that mixes the dried sludge with other plastic compounds. The manufacturer's end products are useful devices such as parking-lot bumpers and guardrail safety blocks that absorb impact when struck by a vehicle.
  • Solvents used in the painting process are cleaned and recovered through SIA's on-site recovery system. The paint shop then reuses the solvent."
[Source: Subaru, Hat Tip to Mike]

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