Want to be jealous of a manufacturing plant?

If you are striving to live a sustainable lifestyle by reducing, reusing and recycling, you may wonder how a plant that makes cars can reach 100% waste free while you are still putting out trash for pickup.

Wired‘s Dan Orzech writes about the Lafayette, Indiana Subaru plant that has managed to be so lean and green even left over paint is sent off to be reincarnated as parking lot stripes. It is inspiring and hopeful to read about.

There are temptations around the edges of the page, however, that may get you off track such as the clickable headlines about the new, beleagured iPhone and the Transformers.

But if you stick with the Wired article you will find that there are some classic principles and maxims of work and life that Subaru, Xerox and others are applying that support their waste reduction successes:

  • Reducing waste is cost efficient
  • Reducing waste can be as simple as returning leftover material
  • Reducing waste is not necessary if it is not produced in the first place
  • Make people accountable for reducing waste

I have done my part in a very tiny way in the last few minutes. I am using a reusable coffee filter and I am composting the grinds. Since I drink too much coffee, it is quite a little pile I am keeping out of our town landfill. I will look around to see if there are ways I can avoid producing waste in the first place.


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