United States
                           Environmental Protection
                   Solid Waste
                   and Emergency Response
         EPA 530-F-97-026
         August 1997
   i Reduction in VOC and
Sludge Emissions

   . $85K Savings

   ! Fewer Potential Legal

This is a perfect example of
how waste minimization can
often be very simple - it is
just a matter of paying atten-
tion to details, fine-tuning,
and maximizing small opportu-
nities for change
Waste Minimization:
Reducing  Paint Waste
Through  Efficiency
General  Motors
Hamtramck Plant
 What Does the GM
 Hamtramck Plant Do?

    The General Motors Hamtramck
 plant (Detroit and Hamtramck,
 Michigan) manufactures and paints
 various GM automobiles. At the
 time this project occurred, the
 Hamtramck facility was responsible
 for the production of flagship cars in
 the Cadillac line: the DeVille,
 Seville, and Eldorado.

 What Did They Accomplish?

    Constantly looking for ways to
 improve product quality and reduce
 waste,  the plant recognized that its
 primer surfacer application could be
 improved.  In particular, the jets
 were spraying paint for several frac-
 tions of a second after the target
 automobile had moved out of range.
 By changing the timing, an even
 coat of paint was applied while
 waste was slashed. The end result
 was a reduction of 5.5 tons of
 volatile organic compounds (VOC)
 emissions and four tons of paint
 sludge per year.


    Although the timing of the paint
 jets was adjusted by mere fractions
 of a second, the tremendous volume
on which the plant operates meant
that these simple changes yielded
significant results. Adjusting the
jets by varying increments resulted
in the plant reducing 3,000 gallons
of primer waste annually (which
contained toluene, xylene, methanol
and butyl cellosolve acetate).

Regulatory Relief

   Though the GM Hamtramck
plant's regulatory status has not
changed, reduced waste makes for
fewer opportunities for spills, acci-
dents and violations, and therefore
fewer potential legal liabilities.

The Implementation Process

   The GM Hamtramck facility reg-
ularly holds meetings to examine
methods for product improvement,
waste reduction, and cost savings.
Input comes from environmental
engineering, paint shop mainte-
nance, paint production, facility
engineering, powerhouse personnel,
purchasing, and finance. Supplier
representatives are also an integral
part of the team.

   Implementation of this project
involved no capital or labor costs on
the part of GM. Worker training
was unnecessary. This is a perfect
example of how waste minimization
can often be very simple—it is just a

 Waste Minimization: Reducing Paint Waste Through Efficiency
 General Motors Hamtramck Plant
matter of paying attention to details,
fine-tuning, and maximizing small
opportunities for change.

   The effort took about a month,
during which time an operational
audit was conducted, the data ana-
lyzed, and solutions implemented.
Tracking of success included gather-
ing data on Toxic Release Inventory
chemicals and materials consump-
tion. The latter was accomplished
via a purchasing system that tracks
all purchases on a monthly basis.


   At the time the project was
implemented, an annual savings of
$85,000 was achieved. This savings
is primarily the result of lower paint
and waste disposal costs. The sav-
ings have varied over time,  due to
production volume fluctuations. In
addition, waste disposal require-
ments were cut.
Words to the Wise

   Senior Environmental Engineer
Roger Johnson noted that communi-
cation of successes is vital for a pol-
lution prevention effort.  Doing so
not only gains recognition, but may
also elicit ideas from people who
might not otherwise have participat-

    "If you achieve a success - com-
municate it!"- Roger Johnson

   Another important aspect men-
tioned by Mr. Johnson is creating a
culture that accepts change and
innovation. Doing so facilitates
rapid development of new solutions.

   The project was implemented
during scheduled plant shutdowns,
eliminating any disruptions.
Product quality rose, since the cars
now receive a more even application
of paint.
                                         NATIONAL PLAN
For more information about the Waste Minimization National Plan, call (800) 424-9346
or check the World Wide Web at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/minimize
                                          Reducing Tones m Our (ton's Waste