Toyota US Hates Trash

Yesterday was Earth Day, and every automotive manufacturer tried to put forward their green credentials. In Toyota’s case, it opted to reveal an interesting fact about its operations in the U.S.

Since 2009, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) said it has reduced or avoided 1.9 million trash cans worth of waste at its sales and logistics facilities across the country.

This month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Toyota’s efforts with the 2013 WasteWise Large Business Partner of the Year award. This title marks the second time TMS has received the Large Business Partner of the Year designation and fourth consecutive year Toyota sales and logistics facilities have received a WasteWise award.

The EPA program recognizes organizations’ efforts to reduce refuse, increase recycling and purchase environmentally preferable products.

“Toyota focuses on continually improving how we do business,” says Chris Reynolds, TMS chief environmental officer. “By reducing waste and increasing efficiency, we save environmental resources and lower costs for both Toyota and our customers.”

Toyota said collectively over the past four years, TMS facilities recycled or avoided production of more than 304 million pounds of trash and consistently diverted 98 percent of their annual waste stream from landfill and incineration.

To accomplish this feat, Toyota said it has to think outside the box (or can?). For example, when North American Parts Center, Kentucky (NAPCK) delivery trucks drop off parts to the regional parts distributions centers, they’re loaded with plastic bags and plastic stretch wrap for the return trip to NAPCK. These types of plastics are often difficult to recycle, but the parts center sells the bulk plastic to a nearby manufacturer that uses recycled wood and plastic to make composite patio materials.

Toyota explained it joined the WasteWise program in 2009, and in 2010 received the Waste Reduction in the Workplace Gold Honorable Mention Award, followed by Large Business Partner of the Year honors in 2011. Last year, Toyota was named the honorable mention, Large Business Partner of the Year.

The WasteWise program is a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. EPA to help organizations achieve cost savings, improve efficiency and reduce their climate footprint through waste reduction. Partners range from large and small businesses to nonprofit organizations to federal, state, local and tribal governments.