From battery covers to bat caves

GM is repurposing old Volt battery covers as habitats for owls, ducks, and bats.

Retired Volt battery covers converted into duck nesting shelters.
Retired Volt battery covers converted into duck nesting shelters. GM

Rather than sending Volt battery covers to the landfill, General Motors is sending them into the wild. The company is repurposing the scrapped parts as habitat for Michigan wildlife.

The old Volt battery covers came from prototype vehicles, were damaged in assembly, or were used during training exercises. The company's quality requirements mandate that they can't be used in cars, and due to the type of plastic used to mold the cover, can't be recycled.

Defunct Volt battery cover repurposed as a bat house.
Defunct Volt battery cover repurposed as a bat house. GM

However, John Bradburn, manager of waste-reduction efforts for GM, is an avid outdoorsman and found a second life for these parts as owl and duck nesting shelters. Environmental and facility engineers worked with children from the Lasky Recreation Center in Detroit to construct nesting boxes last year.

GM recently fielded a suggestion from within the company to use the defunct covers as bat houses. Working with Rob Mies, director of the Organization for Bat Conservation at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, the company is now turning out miniature bat caves.

"These battery covers are also great for bat houses because they are the ideal shape, provide great protection from predators, keep the bats warm, and will last longer than wood," said Mies.

So far, 150 wildlife shelters for owls, ducks, and bats have been built and placed around GM facilities in Michigan.

A screech owl nesting in a wildlife shelter made from an old Volt battery cover.
A screech owl nesting in a wildlife shelter made from an old Volt battery cover. GM

 

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