Behavior Change
Subaru Campaign Aims to Get Public to Stop Trashing Our National Parks

On Friday, Subaru released a trailer for “Who We Are Is What We Leave Behind,” a video series documenting the car company’s National Parks zero-landfill initiative. See episode one below:

“National parks are an important part of our country and of our legacy. Actions we take now will pay dividends for years to come. And one of those actions is addressing the trash produced and found in our parks,” Clark Bunting, president and CEO of NPCA, said in June. “If Subaru can build cars without contributing to landfills, how might that translate to our national parks? By marrying a private success story to a public need, it can be a very powerful model, not just for the centennial but for decades to come.”

Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (SIA), the home of Subaru manufacturing in North America, was the first automotive assembly plant in America designated as zero landfill, achieving that status in 2004. SIA employs a number of techniques to prepare its waste for reuse or recycling, such as separating food waste for composting and sending dust produced from weld slag to a recycling facility where copper and other metals are reclaimed. Since 2000, SIA has reduced waste per unit by 55 percent. The Indiana plant currently produces the Subaru Legacy and Outback and next year will begin production of the Impreza model.

Subaru says SIA has shared its zero-landfill techniques with hundreds of businesses, schools and organizations in order to benchmark their own zero-landfill goals.

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While so far the series hasn’t provided detail on how the partnership intends to eliminate waste in the three pilot parks, and Subaru has faced some criticism for choosing this as the focus of a cause-marketing campaign — versus any number of environmental issues arguably more pertinent to a car manufacturer — waste is still a problem worth targeting: In 2013, over 100 million pounds of waste was generated in U.S. national parks, mostly by recreational visitors, which last year surpassed 292.8 million.

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