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PHOTO CAPTION: Recycling of scrap metal at GM plant.

GM's $1 Billion a Year Recycling Business

Forbes bureau chief Joann Muller discovers one of General Motor's lesser known enterprises, the business of recycling and repurposing its 2.5 million metric tons of industrial waste.

Published: 23-Feb-2013

If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, General Motors has the revenue to prove it.

The automaker generates an eye-popping $1 billion a year reusing or recycling materials that would otherwise be thrown away — everything from scrap steel and paint sludge to cardboard boxes and worn-out tires. It’s an unexpected but welcome revenue stream that comes from rethinking its approach to waste reduction.

Manufacturing is a dirty business. Industrial facilities in the United States generate 7.6 billion tons of nonhazardous waste annually, according the Environmental Protection Agency. Most of it ends up in landfills.

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