22.4.2021Volvo to leverage recycling to cut costs and CO2
Volvo is planning to develop recycling loops in a global initiative to reduce expenses and CO2 emissions. Among other things, the plan involves recycling high-voltage batteries from electric cars and plug-in hybrids.
Overall, the Swedish company wants to save 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 and one billion Swedish kronor (about £85 million) each year from 2025 onwards. It plans to doso by processing, repairing and reusing emission-intensive materials in car production. This will not involve individual pilot projects, but measures across all Volvo plants worldwide.
This is not just about recycling waste and offcuts from the production of the cars, but also about further developing production processes so that material is used more efficiently and waste is not created in the first place.
“Volvo Cars has one of the most ambitious climate plans in the car industry, and if we are to reach our goals, we need to embrace the circular economy,” said Anders Kärrberg, responsible for global sustainability at Volvo Cars.
“This requires us to rethink everything we do and how we do it. We put a strong focus on integrating sustainability into the way we think and work as a company, and we are making it as important as safety has always been to us.”
“Disposing of waste will become more expensive in the future,” Kärrberg continued. “That’s why we want to avoid waste directly.”
Because when it comes to recycling, even small measures are helpful. Instead of a bin for scrap metal, different metals will be separated directly in the factory, making subsequent reprocessing much easier. Transport is also an issue the company has considered.
“Logistics and transport costs are an important factor in the recycling business model,” said Kärrberg. “As with manufacturing, localising supply chains and keeping distances short has a huge impact on sustainability.”
But not every material is suitable for recycling, of course, as Kärrberg stressed: “Painted surfaces and parts visible to the customer are still difficult.”
Components the customer doesn’t see - and for which no development is necessary - could be designed in the future so that they last the life of the vehicle and could later be installed in a new car.
However, this is unlikely to apply to electric car batteries. Volvo’s batteries, for example, are designed to last 15 years in the vehicle. After that, they can be used in second-life applications.