Honda Recycling Rare Earths, Starts Green Dealer Program

Honda Motor and Japan Metals & Chemicals announced they have developed a process to recycle earth metals and are starting mass production at a recycling plant.

The feedstock to be recycled will come from chemicals they extract from used parts in Honda products.

This month, the partners will begin removing rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries collected from Honda hybrid vehicles at Honda dealers worldwide. 

Honda has sold 800,000 hybrids worldwide since 1999.

Carmakers rely heavily on rare earths and are also examining alternatives that reduce the quantities used or can replace them altogether.  

Nissan’s 5-year plan, Green Program 2016, sets a recycling target and adopts comprehensive closed-loop recycling, including steel, aluminum and plastic – the first automaker to do so. It will use materials from production waste or end-of-life vehicles. It also has a goal of reducing rare earths in its cars.

Last year, Creative Recycling Systems, Inc. announced it would recycle rare earths in the US.

Today, 97% of the world’s rare earth supply comes from China, which has restricted exports to purportedly to prevent depletion and because of environmental concerns.

Last month, the EU, US and Japan filed complaints with the World Trade Organization that China is preventing exports to keep prices down for domestic manufacturers and force international companies to locate there.

To consolidate its rare earth industry, China just created a 155 -member association that reports to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates rare earth production.

China wants to phase out small smelters and give a bigger stake to large companies to increase environmental protection in a notoriously toxic industry.

Honda Starts Green Dealer Program

American Honda says it’s starting a "green dealer" program for its 1300 independently-owned Honda and Acura dealers in the US to go beyond fuel efficient vehicles and efficient manufacturing to a comprehensive environmental approach.

There are three levels of achievement: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Silver-level dealers must reduce total energy use at least 10%, develop a water use reduction plan, and implement a comprehensive recycling program.

Gold level dealers must achieve continuous improvement in these targets, and Platinum will be awareded to dealers that get their facilities LEED certified. 

A third party evaluator will conduct environmental audits of participating dealers and recommend strategies for reducing their energy use.

10 dealers have already received an award, 18 more have applied for the program and 200 dealers have independently developed initiatives to reduce their environmental impact.

Some of steps dealers have taken include; retrofiting lighting and installing motion sensors; upgrading HVAC; installing solar and rainwater collection systems, and planting native vegetation to cut irrigation water use.

Headquarters Honda (Clermont, FL)  has a green roof and a rain water collection system; Rossi Honda (Vineland, NJ)
has rooftop solar; and Rock Honda (Fontana, CA) has a car wash that runs on recycled water.

Award winners:

Honda – Platinum Level
Headquarter Honda (Clermont, FL)

Honda – Silver Level
Rock Honda (Fontana, CA)
Joe Morgan Honda (Monroe, OH)
Rossi Honda (Vineland, NJ)
Honda of Burleson (Burleson, TX)
Diamond Honda (City of Industry, CA)
Voss Honda (Tipp City, OH)

Acura – Silver Level
McDaniels Acura (Columbia, SC)
Norm Reeves Acura of Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, CA)
Acura of Peabody (Peabody, MA)

Honda been ranked #1 for as the Greenest Automaker since 2000 and leads automakers with 11 LEED certified buildings. 10 of its 14 North American manufacturing facilities are zero-waste to landfill. Along with Toyota, Honda vechicles have the best indoor air quality of all vehicles.

Here is Honda’s North American Environmental Report:

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