ROMEO, Mich. - Ford Motor Company is now harnessing the power of the sun to ease the environmental impact of waste disposal with an innovative solar power compactor. Ford installed its first solar powered compactor at its Michigan Proving Grounds facility earlier this year, representing a huge leap forward in its Go Further efforts to constantly strive for improvement.
The nearly 4,000-acre self-contained site previously collected trash in open-top boxes and then disposed of the trash in a landfill. MPG decided to start their own "Drive to Zero" efforts to take their waste management practices to the next level.
As a 2011 objective , MPG Environmental and their waste management partner, Veolia Environmental Services, teamed up to take a fresh look at the operation and came up with a winning combination of recycling measures and new solar powered technology which can provide the high amperage capabilities required by trash handling equipment to improve waste management practices. As a result, MPG eliminated the prohibitive expense of providing power to the remote rural location. The new compactor and its solar powered control are supplied by two local southeastern Michigan companies. The unit was installed on an existing concrete pad and was operational in less than four hours.
The new energy-efficient compactor, powered by solar panels, provides the energy to compress the general waste from the facility into a 42-yard container by an increased capacity of 4:1 compared to the open-top boxes that were previously used. The trash is then sent to an incinerator in southeast Michigan where it is converted into power for the local area residents. The compacted trash, coupled with the past year's efforts of recycling all of the site's cardboard, paper, wood and plastic, eliminate the need to dispose of any waste in a landfill.
This solution results in improved environmental outcomes and significant operational savings. The selection of this particular compactor avoided the need for any additional energy sources and reduced waste transportation cost by fourfold. In addition, the transition to this solution was implemented at no additional cost to Ford. Rebates earned by our recycle and waste reduction efforts negated other costs associated with the transition. This solution has proved ideal on a number of fronts.
Efforts like this demonstrate the passion and commitment by the Michigan Proving Grounds staff and personnel to Go Further. Simply put, MPG met all the standards with respect to waste management on the site, going further is our choice and personal commitment to not send any waste to landfills.