Honda turns recycled uniforms, plastic bottles into parts of cars

Honda turns recycled uniforms, plastic bottles into parts of cars
16 / 08 / 2023
بقلم Marwa Nassar - -

Honda is turning recycled uniforms and plastic bottles to be parts of the cars within the framework of Honda’s long-standing commitment to using sustainable materials, reduce waste and incorporate higher recycled content.

Honda is advancing a recycling initiative that takes uniforms worn by associates at its U.S. manufacturing and R&D facilities and transforms them into sound-absorbing insulation for use in Honda and Acura automobiles. This program diverts approximately 45,000 pounds of uniforms from reaching landfills each month as Honda works toward its commitment to use 100% sustainable materials in its products in the future.

The Honda uniform recycling program leverages cross-industry collaboration between Honda and its uniform suppliers Aramark and Cintas Corporation, as well as insulation supplier UGN Automotive and textile recycler Leigh Fibers. Uniforms from Honda production and R&D facilities in Alabama, Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio are recycled and reused in five different insulator parts on all nine Honda and four Acura models made in North America. In the future, Honda plans to expand the uniform recycling program to other facilities in North America.

“Collaborating with Honda suppliers in the uniform recycling program has brought great value to our supply chain sustainability efforts,” said Rob Long, senior procurement specialist with Honda North American Indirect Procurement. “As Honda works to advance sustainability, we appreciate our suppliers’ efforts to innovate their business operations to reduce waste and give new life to our Honda uniforms.”

More than 380,000 pounds of uniforms have been recycled since the program launched at the end of 2021. The uniforms Honda associates wear have always been an important part of the company’s culture and success, symbolizing Honda’s “One Team” approach, which promotes collaboration and the understanding that the ideas of all associates are valued.

Honda associate uniforms that are cleaned by uniform suppliers – Aramark, at Honda Indiana and Ohio facilities, and Cintas Corporation, at Alabama and North Carolina facilities – are evaluated after washing. If the uniforms are undamaged, they are sent back to associates to wear. When uniforms are designated for reuse in Honda and Acura vehicles, they are baled and sent to Leigh Fibers, which specializes in reprocessing and custom-blending fiber-based materials.

At Leigh Fibers’ facility, the uniforms are shredded into material that meets the required fiber grade for use as vehicle insulators. Zippers and buttons from the uniforms are first extracted and collected so that no metal or plastic goes through the shredding process. Then the material gets blended into mixed fibers and tested to ensure the fiber material meets the fiber length requirements. The newly reprocessed fibers are then packaged and delivered to insulation supplier UGN.

UGN blends, consolidates and trims the fibers into material that is molded into insulation and returned to Honda auto manufacturing plants for new vehicle production. Typically, UGN creates insulation from post-industrial fibers, which are sourced from textile companies, and polyester sourced from recycled water bottles. The uniform recycling program marks the first time Honda and UGN are using post-consumer textile waste for sustainable insulation material.

“It is part of UGN’s history and culture to maximize recycled content in our parts, reduce landfill by recycling our own by-products, and promote circular, mono-material technologies that enable end-of-life vehicle recycling,” said Pranav Singh, director of Purchasing & Packaging for UGN Automotive. “Reusing Honda uniforms contributes to these efforts by increasing the amount of recycled materials available for insulators and opens the door to other post-consumer textile waste projects.”

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