John Bradburn, Global Manager of Waste Reduction, General Motors, Michigan
John Bradburn is General Motors’ global manager of waste reduction. In this role, he leads the company’s landfill-free initiative, which has resulted in more than 150 GM operations around the world that reuse, recycle, and convert to energy all waste from daily operations. Mr. Bradburn is an expert in waste reduction and recycling, spearheading numerous recycling projects with societal benefits. He helped reduce the secondary environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill by initiating the conversion of 277 miles of oil-soaked booms into car parts. He repurposes scrap Chevrolet Volt battery covers into nesting boxes for bats and ducks, including an endangered species in Asia. And, he came up with the idea to recycle water bottles from a variety of GM facilities and the Flint community to insulate coats for the homeless manufactured by the nonprofit The Empowerment Plan. Mr. Bradburn collaborates with others to advance the circular economy. He championed the development of the Materials Marketplace and helped launch the Reuse Opportunity Collaboratory Detroit, which brings people together to develop zero-waste partnerships. Mr. Bradburn also directs GM’s design-for-the-environment program. Under his leadership, the company reduced non-recycled manufacturing waste by 73 percent between 2000 and 2010. From 2010 to 2015, the company reduced total waste by 23 percent. President Obama recognized Mr. Bradburn with a 2015 President’s Volunteer Service Award. He received the highest honor of “Lifetime Achievement Award”, which recognizes individuals who have contributed more than 4,000 hours of service in their lifetime. Mr. Bradburn earned a Master of Science degree in hazardous waste management from Wayne State University in Detroit and a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation from Northern Michigan University.