Subaru's zero-waste scheme a money maker, job saver

The clever zero-waste Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) factory in Lafayette, IN, has, on several occasions, gotten awards for doing its part to clean up the environment. Distinctions include winning the EPA's Gold Achievement Award back in 2006, pumping out more than 100,000 Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles and operating for nearly four years without taking out the trash (as in, they didn't generate any).

But the real surprise is that Subaru's zero-waste scheme is a money maker and a job saver. In its 22-year history, the SIA factory has rolled out more than three million vehicles and has never resorted to layoffs. Instead, it's given workers a pay rate increase every year since its inception. Dean Schroeder, a management professor at Valparaiso University, called the plant a "strict dollars-and-cents, moneymaking-and-savings calculation."

Back in 2002, SIA set a five-year target of becoming the first zero-landfill automotive factory in the U.S. Tom Easterday, Subaru of Indiana's executive vice president, told Automotive News (sub. req.) that:

Everyone quickly saw the green dividend of not wasting anything. You reduce packaging, negotiate a better deal from suppliers, and everyone then shares in the savings.

Get this: the factory's workers even get bonuses, including the grand prize of a Subaru Legacy, for assisting SIA in eliminating packaging and unnecessary steps on the assembly line. How's that for a perk?

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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