Leftover car insulation from GM used in coats for homeless

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GM donated leftover car insulation from the Chevy Malibu and Buick Verano to a charity that creates winter coats for the homeless. Photo Credit: Sarah Larson/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

General Motors, along with most other companies, does engage in a bit of charity work and recently was found to be doing quite the novel thing with leftover car parts. Leftover car insulation from older cars was put to use as a liner material for coats that are being distributed to the homeless.

Good use for leftover car insulation

Normally when a manufacturer has leftover material, they use it in the next batch. However, sometimes  a different use is thought of.

For instance, according to USA Today, Veronika Scott, head of the Detroit, Mich.-based charity  Empowerment Plan, cooked up a novel way to use insulation material. While a junior at the College for Creative Studies, she designed a coat that could be made and distributed to the homeless, which General Motors generously donated the insulation material for.

The material in question is the sound-proof fabric found in the Buick Verano and Chevy Malibu, called Sonozorb. GM donated 2,000 yards, enough for 400 coats, to Empowerment Plan. The interesting bit is that the fabric is self warming and the coats are not only waterproof but can double as sleeping bags.

Some fabric

Sonozorb is supplied by a company called GDX and it isn’t the first time General Motors has thought of a different use for leftover car insulation. It was also used in efforts to soak up oil at GM’s factories and also in the Gulf of Mexico, during the BP oil spill in 2010.

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Not only that, but GM ended up collecting the oil-soaked remnants, according to MotorTrend, and used again. GM took them and other materials from the oil spill, dried them out, and reduced them down for use to make a plastic resin, creating components for the Chevrolet Volt, specifically the air deflectors for the radiator. At least 50 percent of the air deflectors are made using recycled materials, as 25 percent of the resin came from materials sourced from the oil spill and a further 25 percent was created from recycled tires.

Driving fashion

Leftover car insulation from GM isn’t the first time that leftover stuff from cars has been put to use in clothing. A number of companies use recycled rubber from tires to create shoes including Timberland, according to the New York Times, and an Ethiopian company called soleRebels, profiled in 2010 by English newspaper The Guardian.

Ford even commissioned designers in Britain to design a complete outfit using the parts of a 2012 Focus to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Ford UK earlier this year, according to Automobile magazine. Granted, it was a UK Focus, which is slightly different than the model one might buy from a dealership for Ford in Brooklyn, Newark, Milwaukee or Portland. The outfit include a bustle with gears and small engine pieces, a necklace featuring buttons from the central control console, a motorcycle-style jacket using the seat covering and taillights that sit on the hips.


USA Today



New York Times: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/03/timberlands-new-footprint-recycled-tires/

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/03/ethiopia-internet-shoe-firm-solerebels

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