Oil-soaked boom from BP spill recycled for GM's Volt

December 21, 2010
Grass and a boom soaked in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon wellhead are seen in the wetlands in June 2010. Oil-soaked boom from the BP spill is being recycled into plastic parts for the plug-in Chevrolet Volt electric car, General Motors said Monday in a bid to boost its "clean and green" image.

Oil-soaked boom from the BP spill is being recycled into plastic parts for the plug-in Chevrolet Volt electric car, General Motors said Monday in a bid to boost its "clean and green" image.

GM and its suppliers are recovering the protective boom laid across 100 miles (160 kilometers) of coastline in Alabama and Louisiana.

The boom is being processed to remove the oil and then shipped up to Indiana, where it will be recycled into more than 100,000 pounds (45,360 kilograms) of plastic resin pellets.

That resin will be mixed with recycled tires and used to make parts that shield the car's radiator.

"This was purely a matter of helping out," said 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," he added.

"We knew we could identify a beneficial reuse of this material given our experience."

GM said it recycles materials at every stage of the product lifecycle, integrating into its vehicles and recycling 90 percent of the waste produced at its global facilities.

Some 76 GM facilities worldwide are "landfill-free," meaning that all of their manufacturing waste is recycled or used to produce energy.

Explore further: EPA: Recycling up and trash down

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