Walking the grounds of Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) in Lafayette, Indiana, you’d be hard pressed to find stereotypical factory sights and smells. There are no billowing plumes or disturbing odors normally associated with the industry.
However, you would have to be careful not to disturb the wildlife. Deer, coyotes, beavers, blue herons, Canada geese, rabbits, squirrels, meadowlarks, ducks and other animals live here in peaceful coexistence with SIA. In fact, part of the SIA property has been designated a wildlife habitat.
SIA’s facilities may seem incongruous in the middle of the Indiana prairie’s cornfields. But the impetus behind the company’s environmental initiatives is well in keeping with the conservation efforts that are part of Indiana’s rural heritage. Farmers in this area learned long ago that mistreatment of the land leads to disaster. Concern about and caring for the area’s ecological systems are well within the ken of all who live here.
How sweeping are SIA’s efforts? Consider this: When you carry out the trash on the next collection day, you’re sending more to landfills than does the SIA plant in Lafayette. That is, nothing from its manufacturing efforts goes into a landfill. It’s all reused and recycled.
A plant tour reveals the extent to which SIA associates go to prevent waste. Strategically placed boxes, bins, barrels and buckets collect the metal, plastic, paper, wood, glass and other materials that might have ended up in a landfill a few years ago. Yellow tape defines placement for collection containers, and recycling stations can be found around the plant.
Altogether, 97 percent of excess/leftover steel, plastic, wood, paper, glass and other materials goes to recycling outlets. The remaining 3 percent is shipped to the city of Indianapolis and incinerated to help generate steam.
Here are just a couple of the recycling processes and procedures followed by SIA:
Every year, SIA representatives meet in Lafayette with representatives from Fuji Heavy Industries and four affiliated North American companies to pursue global environmental conservation efforts. Each company reports its activities, and together they discuss future plans.
Committee members recognize that, although much has been accomplished, the work of environmental conservation is never done.