Subaru’s Clean Car Plant – Less Waste Than In Your Own House.


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When you carry out your trash at home on the next collection day, you’ll be sending more trash to landfills than the entire Subaru manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana (SIA). The Subaru plant was the first auto assembly plant to achieve zero landfill status – nothing from its manufacturing efforts goes into a landfill. It’s all reused and recycled.

So says Subaru, who built the The Subaru of Indiana Automotive Manufacturing Plant a while back but reached zero landfill status in 2004. Over the years, they have done quite a bit for the environment:

  • In 2006, SIA was awarded the U.S. EPA’s Gold Achievement Award as a top achiever in the agency’s WasteWise program to reduce waste and improve recycling.
  • In 2004, SIA became the first U.S. manufacturing facility to reach zero landfill status.
  • In 2003, SIA became the first U.S. automotive assembly plant to be designated a wildlife habitat. Deer, coyotes, beavers, blue herons, geese, and other animals live there in peaceful coexistence with the Subaru plant. It’s our commitment to leave as small a footprint as possible, delivering real-world benefits that everyone can enjoy.
  • In 2002, SIA became the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. with an on-site solvent recovery system that produces dry still bottoms.
  • In 1998, SIA was the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. to be ISO 14001 Certified.
  • In 1994, SIA was also the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. to be smoke free.

Each year, they actively recycle 99.3% of their excess/leftover steel, plastic, wood, paper, glass, and other materials, and the remaining 0.7% is shipped to the city of Indianapolis and incinerated to help generate steam. Sounds like a pretty well closed-loop system to me! And although their cars don’t get the greatest gas mileage compared to some other cars on the road (they average about 25 MPG or so, but with AWD), their cars emit less pollution than most – and they score very high marks on the EPA’s green car list.

But back to this factory…can you imagine running an automobile factory and having less trash go out the door than I send out?
That is amazing, and it sounds like a great model for other companies to copy. Psst – GM, Ford, Toyota, and Honda… are you listening?
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  1. Hi my name is Shawn Flowers and i am doing a project on this topic and i want to know if you guys can email me more information about this topic. I would really appreciate it.

  2. Correction — Subaru cars do not come equipped with 4WD (a brand name which always refers to a limited Front/Read power split), but instead always come equipped with AWD (a brand name which always refers to complete power split to every individual wheel).

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