GM Holden Environment - Case Studies/Waste

Holden Engine Operations:

Foundry sand resource recovery

Waste foundry sand, a by-product of the four-cylinder engine component casting process at Holden Engine Operations, was formerly consigned to landfill.

In 2005, after identifying the opportunity to recover a viable resource in foundry sand, reduce reliance on raw materials and divert a potential 10,000 tonnes of waste material from landfill annually, GM Holden began a three-year research and development process with partners from industry and research.

A pioneering collaborative project between GM Holden, Veolia Environmental Services, the Australian Sustainability Industry Research Centre and Blue Circle Southern Cement enabled the recovery of waste sand and its re-direction to cement kilns, reprocessed into raw silica material in place of virgin mined sand.

The project received support from Sustainability Victoria and successful full-scale trials earned the project full Environment Protection Authority approval. First deliveries of the reprocessed raw silica material were made to Blue Circle Southern Cement in September 2008.

Until foundry closure with cessation of four-cylinder Holden engine production in July 2009, approximately 2700 tonnes of sand were redirected from landfill. The example set by GM Holden in establishing this resource recovery project may be followed by other manufacturers for the future benefit of Australian industry.