Building cars can be a dirty business. Automotive production sucks up energy and uses up valuable resources, which is why General Motors tries to recycle or repurpose as many parts and materials left over from its operations as possible. Examples of this include building wood duck nesting boxes out of unused Chevrolet Volt battery covers and building a home out of a shipping container.
Another recycling venture GM spearheads is the Cadillac Urban Gardens initiative. GM donated more than 1,200 shipping crates which used to hold automotive parts in order to build a sprawling urban garden on top of its Beaubien parking garage in Detroit. They teamed up with supplier Ideal Group for the project, planting eggplant, kale, tomatoes, peppers, basil and more in the shipping crates.
In September, GM donated an additional 400 crates to Buckets of Rain, a Michigan-based charity which looks to bring food and water to impoverished communities in Detroit. This made for a total of 860 crates growing various vegetables in a former vacant lot in Highland Park, which are then donated to soup kitchens like the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and Cass Community Social Services.
“I have a personal sense of pride seeing this garden take shape and knowing that General Motors donated the containers that made it all possible,” said Rebecca Peplinski, a GM purchasing program agent who volunteered at the garden. “This was a unique volunteer opportunity that speaks to me on many levels – from helping everyone get access to fresh fruits and vegetables to spending time getting to know my peers and the Detroit community.”
General Motors also partnered up with Detroit Dirt (the same company who teamed up with Ford to poke fun at Cadillac’s ‘Poolside’ ad) to acquire the dirt and compost to grow their fresh fruits and vegetables. Since April, GM has been going around to local Detroit businesses collecting their compost and turning it into nutrient-rich compost for their urban gardens.