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Volvo Group’s New River Valley plant in Virginia achieves zero landfill status

Volvo’s New River Valley (NRV) assembly plant in Dublin, Va. has achieved zero landfill status at its truck manufacturing operations. Waste generated by the facility, which manufactures all Volvo trucks sold in North America, is now recycled, composted or converted to electricity. The 1.6 million square-foot heavy-duty truck assembly plant is one of the Volvo Group’s largest manufacturing facilities in the world, and the company’s first in North America to achieve zero landfill status.

NRV began in 2003 by first identifying and evaluating all solid and liquid waste streams within the plant. Once identified, the plant’s environmental team introduced a framework better to coordinate recycling efforts and began expanding reuse, recycling and composting opportunities. Evaluation of materials flow and work with parts and raw materials vendors resulted in a transition from cardboard boxes to reusable shipping containers and the elimination of styrofoam and foam rubber from parts packaging.

NRV also changed its paint process to capture, to reconstitute and to reuse solvents typically used to flush paint lines, and to utilize paint sludge to help power a cement kiln. Waste reduction efforts also extend to NRV’s on-site cafeteria, where all food waste, utensils, cups and containers are compostable.

Based on current figures, the energy content of the waste NRV is keeping out of landfills each year equates to:

  • Conserving the amount of energy required for 604 households annually, or
  • Conserving 9,348 barrels of oil, or
  • Conserving 434,291 gallons of gasoline, or
  • Saving 14,509 MWh of electricity

In early 2012, NRV became the first US facility to be certified to ISO 50001 standards under a pilot program supported by the US Department of Energy. NRV is also the first Superior Energy Performance (SEP)-certified facility to use ISO 50001 as its energy management system standard. ISO 50001 and SEP are, respectively, the top international standard and top US certification program for driving continuous improvements in energy efficiency. While technologies such as building automation systems, solar hot water heaters and infrared heaters helped drive NRV’s energy reductions, many of the energy-saving ideas have come from employees.

The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines.

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