GM Scraps Transformed into Coats for Homeless
When General Motors has leftover sound-absorbing materials from the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Verano, it doesn’t just recycle the material. Instead, GM donates the material to Veronika Scott of The Empowerment Plan.
Scott then turns the recycled auto parts material into self-heated waterproof coats that can be converted into sleeping bags. These coats are then distributed to homeless individuals in Detroit and other cities.
Scott came up with the idea to make weatherproof coats when she was a student at the College for Creative Studios in Detroit. After designing the product, she hired homeless women to make the coats for distribution. Since December 2010, Scott has hired eight full-time employees that make 150 coats per month.
One of Scott’s biggest challenges with the program is a challenge that all small business owners face — funding. Specifically, funding for expensive insulated material.
“Among other challenges — from design to project funding — the insulation is the largest expense in the coats’ production,” Scott said in a GM release. “With GM’s help and recommendations, I was able to think about materials in a different way and incorporate a sustainable, durable and practical product from GDC, Inc. that benefits struggling community members.”
General Motors donated 2,000 yards of the Sonozorb material to Scott. This was enough material to make 400 all-in-one weatherproof coats. This donation will help keep 400 individuals warm this winter and it also helps General Motors meet its waste reduction goals.
Written by Melissa Hincha-Ownby, Mother Nature Network
photo: John F. Martin, General Motors