Volvo takes out the trash, achieves zero landfill status

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DUBLIN, Va. — Volvo’s New River Valley truck plant has achieved zero landfill status, meaning all waste produced at the facility is now recycled, composed or converted to electricity.

The 1.6 million sq.-ft. truck plant produces all Volvo trucks sold in North America. Volvo says the facility is one of its largest manufacturing sites in the world, and its first in North America to achieve zero landfill status.

“Care for the environment is a defining trait of Volvo and its operations,” said Mikael Bratt, the Volvo Group executive vice-president responsible for Volvo Group Trucks Operations. “I commend the New River Valley plant for its leadership in our global efforts to minimize the environmental footprint of our operations and the products we manufacture.”

“We’re proud to be at the forefront of environmental improvements to the truck production process,” added Lars Blomberg, vice-president and general manager of the NRV assembly plant. “Eliminating waste from our assembly plant has truly been a journey of a thousand steps, each building on the previous. We also believe it is important to our customers that their trucks are produced in an environmentally friendly manner.”

Volvo set out to achieve this status in 2003, by first identifying and evaluating all the solid and liquid waste streams within the plant. It then introduced a plan to better coordinate recycling efforts and began expanding reuse, recycling and composing opportunities. As part of this initiative, the plant moved from cardboard boxes to reusable shipping containers, while eliminating Styrofoam and foam rubber from parts packaging.

It also changed its paint process to capture and reuse solvents. In the cafeteria, all food waste, utensils, cups and containers are compostable.

“The success of our waste reduction program is a direct result of the daily participation of our people and their support and involvement in the improvement of recycling and production processes,” Blomberg said. “In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, our efforts to reduce waste and energy have continued to improve the competitiveness of our manufacturing operations in southwest Virginia.”

Volvo estimates its efforts are equal to: saving enough energy to power 604 households annually; conserving 9,348 barrels of oil or 434,291 gallons of gasoline; and saving 14,509 mwh of electricity.

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  • Impressive!! Always nice to hear chemicals and poisons aren’t being introduced into the ecosystem… Way to lead Volvo!!

  • I am impressed that this large factory is taking these great steps to curb waste and pollution. You are to be admired for looking at all details including the alternative to foam and styrofoam packaging. – Would like to see the fast-food joints follow the example. Congratulations!

  • Hats off to the team achieving this milestone. I was a consultant at Volvo and the management team has assured to make all the employees to be aware of many environmental issues and make each of them to contribute towards a greener way of working.