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General Motors Company : GM?s Coffee Recycling Program is Grounds for Sustainability

05/02/2012 | 07:29pm US/Eastern
GM's Coffee Recycling Program is Grounds for Sustainability 3,000 pounds a year, and green peppers and tomatoes in the garden love the nutrients


WARREN, Mich. - One man's trash really is another man's treasure. Even old coffee grounds.

John Bradburn, General Motors manager of waste-reduction efforts, has instituted a coffee grounds recycling program at the Warren Tech Center where his team works.

The result is saving approximately 3,000 pounds a year of this nitrogen and phosphorous-rich coffee grounds from being thrown out with the garbage.

Each week, Bradburn and others within GM's Real Estate and Facilities group remove two 10-gallon buckets of used coffee grounds from the coffee area and take it home to use in their gardens as a substitute for bedding or organic pest repellent. The uses for coffee grounds are many, so nobody wants for a reason to use it.

"I took some of the recycled grounds home last week to use in my vegetable garden," said Michele Hogan, who works in accounting on Bradburn's team. "They are a great source of nutrients for my green peppers and tomatoes."

While less robust than GM's goal of making its plants and facilities landfill free, the project has proven it has grounds for sustainability.

And if there's one thing Bradburn can be certain, it's the amount of java that keeps his team going.

"I never knew our team drank so much coffee," he said. "But I suppose it's one more reason why this is good for the environment."

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets.  GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at


A group of General Motors workers is recycling 3,000 pounds of coffee grounds a year, taking the nitrogen- and phosphorous-rich coffee grounds home for use in gardens, thus keeping them out of the trash.

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