General Motors global headquarters
Renaissance Center accommodates 15,000 people daily
Detroit, Mich. – GM’s Renaissance Center, a six-tower office complex dominating the Detroit skyline,
is not only home to the auto manufacturer, but also a prime real estate destination containing North
America’s tallest all-hotel skyscraper, 11 other businesses, 20 restaurants and 27 retailers.
The space is huge, and with the help of WM it’s achieved a significant green milestone – diverting
five million pounds of trash from the landfill each year (the equivalent of 200,000 full garbage bags).
How the Renaissance Center achieved that goal is really a story of collaboration.
“This is a significant achievement considering all the waste from workers, shoppers, diners and hotel
guests — ranging from half-eaten hamburgers to used mattresses — that will not end up in a landfill,”
said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs. “By working
together, we reduce our footprint while helping build a greener economy and a greener Detroit.”
The journey toward landfill-free began with a complete waste audit where every possible reuse and
recycling opportunity was identified. Combining that insight with the building’s historical waste data,
GM then teamed with all of the Renaissance Center’s employees and tenants to educate and engage
on increasing paper, plastic and battery recycling.
During this process, GM worked closely with Waste Management to coordinate its needs with partners
around the region. This included using the company’s Detroit Recycling Center to manage cardboard
and plastics. In addition, GM partnered with other providers to divert even more materials, including a
Detroit nonprofit organization, which receives all of the refundable bottles and cans that then go toward
funding youth outreach.
Following the implementation of these new processes, the Renaissance Center recycles 49 percent of
its total waste, an improvement of 127 percent since the drive to landfill-free began in 2011. The remaining
waste, including food scraps and used containers, is converted to energy through a facility located
within the city.
Moving forward, GM has stated it will continue to focus on green initiatives as an important part of its overall
business strategy. Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson said as much in the company’s 2012 Sustainability
Report, writing, “We generate about $1 billion annually to the top line through recycling and reuse initiatives
and we avoid $66 million in energy costs. These examples underscore operational benefits, but GM’s most
compelling business case for sustainability lies with the customer.”
For more information, read GM’s sustainability blog at www.gmbeyondnow.com.