Subaru has long been known for their reliable, reasonably-priced cars, but recently, they have also been gaining a reputation as one of the most environmentally-friendly manufacturers in the industry. Though a bit unconventional in their approach – as they are focusing more on the industrial and manufacturing components of their company, rather than on producing hybrid or electric cars – Subaru is redefining what it means to be green.
Living Green in Indiana
Subaru of Indiana Automotive’s (SIA) manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana has achieved something very few other companies have even attempted: they have achieved a ‘zero landfill’ state and are close to becoming truly zero waste. After a long journey of commitment, improvement, and strategy, the SIA plant became ‘zero landfill’ in 2004 and has contributed absolutely nothing to any landfills since then. Subaru’s achievements were brought about in part through increased efficiency in processing leftover material, the reuse of packaging, help from suppliers, and community effort, among other things. The area around the plant is so clean that it became a wildlife shelter in 2005.
Of course, zero landfill does not mean zero waste (as the latter term also considers the amount of materials being recycled), but the Lafayette plant is close to achieving that too. 97 percent of leftover material is recycled, and the remaining three percent is dealt with responsibly. The zero waste philosophy, though popular in many other countries, especially Japan, is only just beginning to catch on in the United States. Xerox and Anheuser-Busch are two of the few American companies moving towards zero waste.
Subaru’s recycling policy doesn’t just apply to their manufacturing plants: the cars themselves can be recycled. Subaru has recorded Automobile Shredder Residue ratios that already exceed future industry standards and is still taking steps to improve them. If your Subaru is nearing the end of it’s lifespan, contact your local Subaru dealership about getting rid of it appropriately.
Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles
Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles, or PZEVs, are the results of the state of California’s emissions laws: California wanted a higher number of vehicles that don’t produce toxic or green-house gas emissions (such as electric cars) on the road, but after electric cars failed to become as popular as planned – due in part to high costs, short driving ranges, and bad marketing – some companies turned to PZEVs. A PZEV still runs on gasoline (and doesn’t get any better or worse fuel economy than regular-emission versions of the same car), but has an advanced, super-clean engine that runs cleanly. Though not every state has adopted California’s air regulations, some companies, including Subaru, have begun manufacturing higher numbers of PZEVs anyways – and selling them at the same cost as their non-PZEVs.
The Subaru Forester and Impreza are both have PZEV engines as the standard.
The 2014 XV Crosstrek
The Crosstrek is Subaru’s first – but hopefully not last – hybrid car (it’s also a PZEV, as hybrids are). The all-wheel drive Crosstrek gets a 31combined MPG (for comparison, the Chevy Malibu has slightly worse fuel economy, but the Toyota Prius can get up to 50 MPG). Starting at about $22,000, the Crosstrek is a good option to consider when buying a hybrid.
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