Since the spring of 2016, mattress industry supplier William T. Burnett & Co., based in Statesville, North Carolina, has participated in Do Your Part, a General Motors Co. sustainability initiative to recycle and reuse plastic water bottles. The program is one component of the Detroit automaker’s global zero-waste efforts and entails the collection of plastic bottles from its five Michigan facilities, as well as from Flint, Michigan, where bottled water is in heavy use due to that city’s public drinking water crisis.
According to a GM news release, Burnett, a nonwovens producer, is one of 11 companies enlisted to carry out its bottle recycling efforts. Burnett processes the fiber derived from the recycled plastic resin into various forms of fleece or batting that is used in a number of applications. The uses include insulation and air-filter substrate for GM vehicles, as well as donations to nonprofits that make filled coats and sleeping bags for the homeless. GM also sources the fabrication of the air filtration panels to nonprofits that employ disadvantaged workers.
Burnett President Greg Davis recently told Nonwovens Industry magazine that the Do Your Part program has been good for business: “It has been a high-visibility project both within GM and within the automotive community. It has also been exciting and compelling to our employees. I have found that people appreciate the fact that the company and its employees are giving back to the community.”
In her year-end 2017 statement, Mary Barra, GM chief executive officer and chair, said: “Our goal is to produce zero waste everywhere we operate. As of December 2016, GM’s landfill-free list consisted of 152 global facilities that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations.”