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Honda and a few of its contemporaries are leading the way into a new era of vehicle and small engine manufacturing by creating factories which seek to minimize or completely eliminate the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. This new type of factory, commonly referred to as zero waste or zero landfill factories, will actively reduce emissions and recycle or reuse all waste materials which are created during the manufacture of vehicles and small engines. The reduced emissions and recycling of waste and scrap material means that the factories will have a significantly smaller impact on both their local environment and the larger global environment, while still providing some of the most advanced manufacturing techniques in the world for Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Honda engines and vehicles.
Leading the way for these zero landfill facilities is the $550 million automotive manufacturing plant that is being built on 1700 acres of land near Greensburg, Indiana. The facility is being designed to produce a number of different fuel-efficient vehicles, and will likely be producing hybrid vehicles as well as they increase in popularity. The factory is being designed as a state-of-the-art facility which can adjust its manufacturing lines as needed to produce different products so that it can produce updated Honda engines and alternative energy vehicles as they are developed as well.
In addition to producing a number of fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles, zero landfill facilities will be able to produce small engines for lawnmowers and off-road vehicles as well. The manufacturing of these small engines will still be able to take advantage of the zero landfill features of the factories, producing little or no waste and emissions while still creating efficient and powerful engines and parts.
One of the features of these zero landfill factories that truly make them cutting edge is that they are extremely efficient in addition to being able to produce vehicles and small engines with little to no waste and emissions. The factories will be able to convert almost seamlessly from the manufacture of one product to another on the same lines with minimal downtime. Using a modular production system, the facilities are designed so that the conversion of one or more lines to produce different parts or products can be done with relative ease and without disrupting the production that is occurring on other lines. This will allow Honda and similar companies to keep up with the needs of the public and the environment in regards to the products that they are manufacturing without having to undergo costly changes to their factories or having to shut down major portions of the factory while they are being converted.
The trend in changing existing factories and building new factories which fits into zero landfill facilities comes at a time when there is increasing scrutiny on manufacturing companies to reduce the effect that they have on the environment. A number of laws have been enacted requiring that companies reduce their emissions and waste output, but many of these zero landfill factories are being designed to greatly exceed the legal requirements placed upon them. Honda engines and vehicles are being produced in low-emissions factories well in advance of the deadlines set by these laws, and with the opening of the Greensburg facility they will be greatly exceeding the requirements that are set by law. The fuel efficiency and low emissions of the standard and hybrid vehicles that are being produced in these factories further show the dedication of these companies to the environment, since even the small engines and vehicles built at these factories will exceed the legal requirements that govern vehicle production.
Many of the factories which are being built or planned are incorporating the local environment into their overall design in addition to keeping their emissions and waste low. Many of the facilities are being designed so that they will feature parks, wildlife preserves, or similar landscape features which can help to enrich the local community or environment. In some factories this is a key part of the zero landfill design, since the facility will not only be reducing or eliminating the waste that they produce but will also be enriching the local community or providing safe homes for endangered wildlife which was native to the area.
~ Ben Anton, 2008