air deflectors in the new Chevy
Volt are being made in part from discarded plastic boom material used to
soak up oil in the Gulf of Mexico earlier
the innovative recycling process will result in the production of more than
100,000 lb of polypropylene that would otherwise have gone into the waste
Click here for larger image.
recycling is one extension of GM's overall strategy to reduce its environmental
impact," says Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and
Safety policy. "We reuse and recycle
material by-products at our 76 landfill-free facilities every day. This is a
good example of using this expertise and applying it to a greater magnitude."
which deflect air around the Volt's radiator, are made of 25 percent boom waste
and 25 percent recycled tires from GM's Milford Proving Ground vehicle test
facility. A mixture of recycled plastics and other polymers make up the
partners participated in the project, particularly GDC
a materials' supplier and molder based in Goshen, IN. GDC is able to cross link the polypropylene
waste with rubber in a patented process called Enduraprene. The compound
created from the process is described as an engineered elastomer. The result is
material with superior properties than compounds that are just filled with
partners in the process include:
- Heritage Environmental, which managed the
collection of boom material along the Louisiana coast;
- Mobile Fluid Recover, which used a high-speed
drum to spin the booms until dry, eliminating absorbed oil and wastewater;
- Lucent Polymers, which processed the material
into the physical state necessary for plastic die-mold production.
of the boom material is expected to last through February, providing enough material
for the Volt and other current-year GM models.
purely a matter of helping out," says John Bradburn, manager of GM's
waste-reduction efforts. "If sent to a landfill, these materials would have
taken hundreds of years to begin to break down, and we didn't want to see the
spill further impact the environment. We knew we could identify a beneficial
reuse of this material given our experience."
plastic from the Gulf oil spill adds to the Volt's environmental story. The Volt
is described by GM as the world's first electric vehicle with extended range.
more about the recycled oil-soaked plastic boom material watch GM's video, "From the Gulf Spill to the