General Motors is, ironically, adding 2 million Flint water bottles into its Do Your Part recycling program. GM, of course, is part of the reason there are so many water bottles that need recycling. The plastic from the bottles will be washed, flaked and processed to make Chevrolet Equinox V6 engine covers, insulation for the so-called The Empowerment Plan that supplies coats for the homeless, and air filters for ten GM plants. It’s part philanthropy; part profit derived from the misfortunes of poor people without corporate or political lobbying power.
The Flint water crisis, of course, is a sordid chapter in the questionable record of two-term Republican governor Rick Snyder. General Motors acted disgracefully as well, and was in the middle of it. Snyder espoused a political philosophy of taking over local governments and using his appointees to run the city with for profit contractors.
It was a Snyder appointee who was running Flint as an emergency services manager who took over governance from elected officials under Michigan law. What ensued was the people of Flint – home of GM – were unhooked from the fresh water of Lake Huron.
To save money under this ideological tragedy, the public was supplied with the extremely toxic, untreated Flint River water – with dire and ongoing negative health consequences. The water bottles now in play at GM came about when the lid blew off of what were multiple cover-ups about how unsafe – at any sip or any exposure – the water was, even though political appointees of Snyder clearly knew about the problem. They kept lying that the water was safe to use, to drink, to wash with.
A General Motors plant in Flint was involved in the disaster. GM officials went to Snyder and said – post switch to toxic water – that it couldn’t wash engine parts with the new water because it was so bad it corroded them. Snyder then quietly spent more than $400,000 to return the GM plant to clean Lake Huron water through a hookup from an adjacent township. The GM plant as a result was the only place in the city with clean, fresh water. Snyder was silent. GM was silent. The rest of the city was being poisoned.
In AutoInformed’s view, GM is now, belatedly, trying to do something for Flint. Too little too late? You decide. There’s a devastating Michael Moore movie lurking here. How about – Snyder, GM, Toxic Water and Me.
Water Bottle Recycling at GM in Michigan
An estimated 1.2 million bottles from five GM facilities in metro Detroit and Flint supplemented the 2 million bottles coming from the abused Flint community. GM recently added its Romulus Powertrain plant to the program. While some employees bring reusable water bottles to work, all of GM’s facilities provide water bottle recycling.