Waste Management

Ford’s environmental goals include reducing the amount and toxicity of manufacturing-related wastes and ultimately eliminating the disposal of waste in landfills. Manufacturing byproducts include both hazardous and nonhazardous wastes. Ford 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.

In 2010, Ford facilities globally sent approximately 73,000 metric tons of waste to landfill, a slight increase of 4.6 percent from 2009. This increase is the result of higher production from 2009 to 2010. However, we reduced waste to landfill on a per-vehicle basis by about 13 percent, which reflects the fact that we are reducing waste produced per unit of production. Also in 2010, Ford facilities globally generated approximately 43,000 metric tons of hazardous waste, an increase of 9 percent from 2009. Again, this increase is the result of higher production from 2009 to 2010. However, we reduced hazardous waste on a per-vehicle basis by 9 percent.

The following Ford facilities have achieved zero waste to landfill: the Rawsonville Engine Plant in Michigan; the Cologne, Germany, manufacturing facilities, including the Engine and Vehicle Operations plants, technology development center and Ford Customer Service Division facility; the Saarlouis Body and Assembly Plant in Germany; the Genk Assembly Plant in Belgium; our assembly and powertrain plants in India; our Lio Ho plant in Taiwan; and our joint-venture assembly plant with JMC in Nanchang, China.

Managers at all of our plants strive continually to increase their waste recycling. Ford’s Geelong Foundry in Australia, for example, has developed processes to recycle foundry sand, scrap steel and process water. These recycling efforts are saving the plant almost $900,000 annually. The foundry is one of the few facilities in the world that does not buy any steel or pig iron from external recyclers. Instead, the facility uses recycled scrap steel generated by Ford’s nearby stamping plant. To use this scrap steel, which has been coated with zinc rust-proofing materials, the foundry developed a new melting process that makes it possible to reuse the metal scraps without impacting the environment. The facility also has begun to recycle process water in a closed-loop system that allows water to be reused again and again. In addition, the foundry developed a process to separate metal and different sand components from used foundry sand. Metals are melted down and fed back into the foundry process, while used sands are shipped off for use in cement manufacturing and road building. The Geelong Foundry won Ford’s 2010 Environmental Leadership Award for the Asia Pacific and Africa region for this project.

Ford’s Sharonville Transmission Plant in Cincinnati, Ohio, won the 2010 Environmental Leadership Award for the North America region, for their efforts to recapture and recycle waste oil from machining processes. Through this project, machining oil is removed from machining “swarf,” the fine metallic byproducts that result from the machining process. The collected machining oil is recycled, substantially reducing the volume of total machining waste and reusing a valuable resource instead of sending it to a landfill. As a result of these oil-recycling practices, the Sharonville Transmission Plant expects to recycle approximately 40,000 gallons of oil per year at an annual cost saving of $395,000.

In 2010, our Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake received a Silver Award for its recycling efforts from the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District. This award recognized the plant’s successful efforts to reduce waste to landfill and increase recycling. In 2010, the plant recycled 2,539 tons of material from eight different waste streams, including cardboard, plastics, wood, steel and more. The Ohio Assembly Plant achieved these results through the work of a cross-functional team that targeted packaging waste as well as other waste streams. The team’s efforts resulted in reducing waste to landfill by more than 30 percent. Ohio Assembly was runner-up for Ford’s Environmental Leadership Award for the North America region for these waste-reduction actions.

Ford’s Kocaeli Assembly Plant in Turkey won our 2010 Environmental Leadership Award in the Europe region for an innovative approach to waste reduction. The plant’s “Six Sigma” team, led by the Maintenance and Environmental Engineering Department, implemented a new sludge de-watering process that reduces wastewater treatment plant sludge waste by nearly 57 percent and reduces disposal costs by nearly 87 percent. The process uses a drying unit to de-water sludge waste after it has been through the conventional sludge thickening and filtering process. The dried sludge can then be used as an energy source for local cement facilities. Previously it had to be disposed of as a waste product in landfills or incinerated.

In South America, Ford’s Taubate Plant began recycling all of the organic waste generated by its cafeteria in 2010 to generate fertilizer rather than be disposed of in a landfill. The project was the result of a cross-functional team that included employees of Ford and the cafeteria supplier, Gran Sapore.

Finally, our Dunton facility in England has initiated a waste management contract whereby all general waste materials onsite (454 metric tons in 2010) are recycled via a materials recovery facility instead of going direct to landfill, resulting in at least a 90 percent recycling rate. Dunton continues to segregate and recycle 100 percent of its waste metal, paper, wood, cardboard, vehicles and parts, as well as waste electrical and electronic equipment.