Leftover scrap sound-deadening material that insulates a variety of Chevrolet engines is now insulating the walls of the NEW Life Center, a jobs development and training facility in Flint, Michigan. General Motors tested the material diverted from its Rochester Operations facility in New York for building applications. Now more than 200 pieces have been reused, benefitting the environment and community.
This project keeps GM scrap out of a landfill, supporting Rochester Operations’ landfill-free status, while making the Flint nonprofit’s building more energy efficient. While the material could have been sent overseas for recycling, this reuse application makes an impact at home.
The NEW Life Center team worked with the Firestone Center to enlist the help of over 100 students from colleges across the country. Most recently, students from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, pieced the scraps together to form a larger quilt and installed the insulation into the facility’s walls. These students spent their “alternative” spring break in Flint, giving their free time to the community.
“Finding a place for the material to go was really stumping us, so our team is happy that it is being repurposed to make a difference,” said Cynette Cavaliere, environmental project engineer at GM Rochester Operations.
The material is similar to the fleece GM creates through its Do Your Part water bottle recycling project. Plastic bottles turn into air filters, insulation for coats for the homeless and a new kind of engine cover.