Toyota Kirloskar Motor gears up to eliminate plastic usage from Bidadi plant

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 03 Oct 2019

Toyota Kirloskar Motor, in line with parent company Toyota Motor Corporation's 'Environment Challenge 2050', a long-term initiative aimed at minimising carbon dioxide emissions, is gearing up to eliminate plastic usage from the manufacturing process at its two plants in Bidadi, Karnataka. Both plants together have a combined manufacturing capacity of 310,000 units per annum and produce the Innova, Fortuner, Corolla Altis, Toyota Yaris, Etios, Etios Liva, Etios Cross, Camry and Camry Hybrid.

As part of the six well-defined challenges to be achieved by 2050, Toyota has taken upon itself to establish a recycling-based society and systems, inspired by its philosophy of Toyota Earth Charter, which encourages pursuing production activities that do not generate waste.

Aligning its activities with the Toyota Environment Challenge 2050, TKM says it established a robust waste management system at its operating facility at Bidadi, in Karnataka. Its five-year action plan derived from the Toyota Earth Charter is also in place; this calls reduction in hazardous waste generation” and continuous efforts to achieve zero waste to landfill, giving the reduction targets. With these efforts, TKM is ensuring zero waste directly to landfill and achieved a recyclability of 96 percent to date, for the wastes which are generated from the manufacturing operations.

Commenting on the initiatives taken by TKM,  Masakazu Yoshimura, Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “Keeping in line with our global Toyota Environment Challenge 2050 and aligned with the Prime Minister’s nationwide campaign to limit the consumption of single-use plastic, we have proactively implemented several initiatives encouraging our stakeholders to reduce, recycle and reuse, as a step towards a better tomorrow.” 

He added, “Environment consciousness is etched into Toyota’s ecosystem, right from our supply chain to our management and employees to the beneficiaries on the ground ensuring a sustainable impact. Through this initiative, we are committed to build a sustainable waste management system to reduce the negative impact of single-use plastic.”

As part of the project, TKM also conducted an extensive study to find the alternative options for waste minimisation to utilize biodegradable waste (non-hazardous) in an eco-friendly manner. The study involved testing various composting techniques, and the team arrived at ‘vermi-composting’, a process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing waste. As a result, with the use of this technique, of the 6 MT of bio-sludge generated at the plant, 4 MT was converted to manure (fertilizer). This helped in reducing the landfilling cost up to Rs 28.8 lakh per annum and also curtailed the emissions up to 18 tCO2e/annum.

5R drive to reduce plastic waste at TKM and also its suppliers
In 2018, TKM says it accelerated its efforts towards reducing plastic waste and started a company-wide drive called ‘5R’. With its well-defined strategy for identification of the Kaizens (continuous improvement), TKM promoted the reduction activities involving its employees. Various activities taken up as part of the 5R initiative yielded a reduction of 45% in plastic footprint over the period of June 2018 till June 2019.

The Japanese carmaker has also implemented elimination of plastic in service parts operation in India.  Thorough studies are being conducted to stop plastic usage and introduce alternate material like paper and cotton bags for primary and secondary packaging, strapping. Overall implementation of the campaign to ban plastic usage/ introduction of alternate packaging material across suppliers will start by January 2020

With the auto industry going through a dynamic revolution, End-of-Life Vehicle Management is proving to be one of the biggest challenges in the coming decades. TKM conducted a detailed study of the existing dismantling markets in India, only to realise that the prevailing informal sector can pose a severe threat to the environment.  A car is an assembly of more than 800 parts and can be dangerous to the environment if disposed unscientifically. Considering this issue, Toyota Motor Corporation devised a program called the 100 dismantler project, where Toyota is developing 100 model dismantling facilities around the world to promote material recycling of the end-of-life vehicles.

EcoZone strives towards a zero-waste society
In addition to manufacturing cars and guided by the Challenge 2050, TKM has also developed an 'Eco Zone' in its plant premises at Bidadi. This is an outdoor environment learning center, specially designed to provide experiential learning to stakeholders. Under this project, TKM aims to connect children with nature, promote environmental awareness beyond classroom learning and inculcate a behaviour towards the conservation of the environment. Thus far, more than 1,900 students from 52 schools and colleges have been a part of this training at the Ecozone.

Further, Ecozone also houses the 'Value Theme Park'  which aims to educate stakeholders on the importance of waste management, solutions for effective value creation from waste and ways to move towards a zero-waste Society. The theme park highlights the key issues of waste management in the society and industry, and provides a platform for triggering discussions to evolve solutions.