About 100 miles of oil-soaked plastic boom materials used to contain the massive leak that occurred last summer in the Gulf of Mexico will soon be contributing to a greener automotive future as part of a reprocessing program being undertaken by General Motors and a group of its partners. According to GM, these recycled booms are being converted into more than 100,000 pounds of plastic resin that subsequently will be turned into air-deflecting radiator shields for the Chevy Volt. The parts are comprised of 25 percent boom material and another 25 percent recycled tires from GM's Milford Proving Ground vehicle test facility with the rest of the mix being post-consumer recycled plastics and other polymers.
The recovery/reprocessing program is expected to last another couple of months, and Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety policy, indicated that the automaker also is considering using the reprocessed boom materials to make components for several other vehicles. "Creative recycling is one extension of GM's overall strategy to reduce its environmental impact. 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." Currently, GM facilities worldwide recycle 90 percent of the waste they generate. At the moment, over half are completely landfill free and either directly recycle all manufacturing waste or use it to create energy to run the operations.