Paving the Road to Zero Waste at Toyota’s Indiana Plant

April 10, 2014
How do you turn manufacturing sludge into a sustainable building material? Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) offers a “concrete” example.

Before 2010, water used in the manufacturing process was pumped into the plant’s wastewater treatment system.  It was cleaned and treated with a chemical — ferric sulfate— to remove metals and contaminants. The result: a useless iron-rich sludge left behind as waste…a LOT of waste. Sludge was nearly 70 percent of TMMI’s total waste stream each month. 

Enter Toyota’s ongoing commitment to eco-efficient operations. To minimize waste and conserve natural resources, TMMI tested different additives in order to find a more natural way to treat the sludge from TMMI’s wastewater streams and the paint shop. Lime slurry, a non-hazardous mineral and more cost-effective alternative, performed the best. It reduced wastewater sludge by 4 pounds per vehicle, the equivalent of eliminating over 1 million pounds of wastewater sludge each year.

And, it turns out, the calcium-rich sludge left behind is a great replacement for cement in cement kilns. The sludge is dried, compressed and shipped to a facility where it is used to make Portland cement, a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar and stucco.

By developing innovative methods like this, TMMI became a zero waste to landfill facility in 2010 and continues to operate as such today. 

Learn more about Toyota’s environmental initiatives in the company’s latest environmental report: www.toyota.com/about/environmentreport2013/
 
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Related Video

Toyota + Cleaner Operations: Reducing Waste and and Saving Water

Team members at Toyota's assembly plant in Indiana have come up with some pretty innovative ways to reduce waste. Changing the treatment chemical for wastewater turned the resulting sludge into a perfect replacement for cement in cement kilns. For more information, visit, http://www.toyota.com/environmentreport2013/operations
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Related Photos

2013 North American Environmental Report - TMMI Cleans Wastewater 001
2013 North American Environmental Report - TMMI Cleans Wastewater 001

2013 North American Environmental Report - TMMI Cleans Wastewater 001

Kevin Miles, Specialist at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, performs a jar test to demonstrate how lime slurry separates and cleans up wastewater.
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