When it comes to the environment, climate change — and the impact pumping carbon into the atmosphere has on it — tends to dominate the headlines. And rightly so, given the widespread and potentially dire implications.
But Toyota knows there’s more to responsible environmental stewardship than just reducing its carbon footprint. Conserving and protecting the world’s fresh water supply is also a primary focus. That’s why it’s one of the six objectives set forth by the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050
that’s guiding decision making around the world. And it’s one of four areas of environmental focus in North America.
Specifically, by 2050, TMNA strives to:
- Eliminate water withdrawals from all of its operations
- Establish closed loop systems with 100 percent recycled/reused water
- Engage with communities and nonprofit organizations to conserve water
- Assist our major suppliers and dealers with adopting these same goals
How are we doing on this front? Well, in 2019, Toyota’s North American manufacturing plants recycled or reused 565 million gallons of water, reducing our need for water by a third. That’s the equivalent to the annual water use of 5,159 average American families (based on U.S. EPA estimates of 300 gallons of water per day per family at home).
This was achieved through multiple changes in behavior, both large and small, across a wide array of TMNA facilities. But three initiatives undertaken last year deserve special mention:
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Tennessee —
Toyota’s aluminum casting plant in Jackson, Tennessee, is replacing nearly 85,000 gallons per year of municipal water with rainwater. Rainwater is captured from the outdoor holding tank farm, fed through a bag filter, then routed to the plant’s cooling water holding tank. The captured rainwater is ultimately used to cool the die cast machines and parts.
Toyota’s research and development facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan, began collecting storm water in a retention pond to use for irrigation. Before installing the pond, all irrigation water was drawn from a groundwater well. Now, up to 6.6 million gallons from the retention pond may be used for irrigation in the summer months.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky —
At the vehicle assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, team members now turn off the reverse osmosis system when it‘s not being used. This saves about 30 gallons of water per vehicle, or about 15 million gallons annually.
Want to take a deeper dive into what TMNA is doing to preserve and conserve the nation’s water supply? Check out this detailed position statement
And for the latest on Toyota’s environmental efforts on other related fronts, here’s the company’s environmental ideas and action page
By Dan Miller