General Motors may be making one of the most popular eco-conscious cars for sale today (the Volt), but now some leftover automotive manufacturing materials from their Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Verano are being donated to the homeless to make insulated and waterproof coats and sleeping bags.
The humanitarian group Empowerment Plan, based in Detroit and led by Veronika Scott, is partnering with GM to utilize the excess Sonozorb material leftover after manufacturing. The material, used as insulation in door cavities and vehicle compartments, is being repurposed into usable coat material by automotive supplier GDC.
“Among other challenges – from design to project funding – the insulation is the largest expense in the coats’ production,” said Scott. “With GM’s help and recommendations, I was able to think about materials in a different way and incorporate a sustainable, durable and practical product from GDC, Inc. that benefits struggling community members.”
About 2,000 yards of the material has been donated so far, enough to make 400 coats for those in need. The coats transform into sleeping bags to help keep people warm at night. Eight homeless women are now employed full time turning the material into coats, and Scott has helped her employees find housing and achieve some level of independence.
Every time I read one of these stories I am amazed at the selflessness that so many individuals exhibit on a daily basis. It makes me want to do more with my free time, and I hope it encourages you to do the same. We definitely need more people like Veronika Scott as well as more companies like General Motors to do the right thing with its excess materials. No sense in throwing away perfectly good materials when there are plenty of people who can put it to good use.