Renault speeds up recycling

Renault and its partner companies are to develop end-of-life vehicle recycling in France and target 95 per cent recovery by 2015 as ecologically as possible.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 11 Apr 2008 Views icon3444 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
In a world first, three complementary companies – Renault, SITA and INDRA –are looking to pool their respective expertise and resources. Their aim is to ensure the success, from both the economical and environmental viewpoints, of a sector which is currently undergoing extensive changes. The joint venture's development is expected to lead to a largely self-financed investment of euros 100 million over a period of five years. The joint venture, equally-owned by Renault and SITA France, a subsidiary of Suez Environment, is aimed at speeding up the development of end-of-life vehicle (ELV) treatment in France.

To assist its development, this joint venture would take control of Indra Investissement SAS, a company which has been active in the dismantling of vehicles for more than 20 years and which has been behind some of the industry's most innovative solutions. The pooling of the complementary expertise of Renault, SITA and Indra and their partners targets 95 per cent recovery by 2015 as ecologically and economically as possible. All these companies share the same will to improve rates of re-use using existing methods and processes currently being investigated, notably in the field of recycling materials recovered from end of life vehicles. The current trend towards higher raw material prices has encouraged these players to make further commitments in this domain.

The bid to achieve the announced targets by 2015 calls for increased cooperation between all the parties concerned, both within the sector and within the automobile industry. It is this spirit that prevailed during the gestation and setting up of this project.

Renault leads in recycled plastics

The French carmaker, with a few other automobile manufacturers, has been at the forefront of implementing activities that reduce waste. In 1995, it introduced an ambitious international environmental policy taking into account the full lifecycle of vehicles, from their design to the end of their useful life.

An aspect of Renault’s strategy is its Renault eco² appellation which takes both ecological and economical considerations into account to ensure that the progress made benefits as many people as possible. The same approach now needs to be applied to the recycling and recoverability of end-of-life products.

For more than 10 years, the company has designed its cars to be easily dismantled and recoverable at the end of their useful life. It has played a significant part in the emergence of the first operations aimed at recycling hi-tech plastics, with joint inputs from Renault engineers, recyclers and suppliers. A minimum of five per cent of the plastics that make up the models which benefit from the Renault eco² appellation are sourced from recycling. In the case of the Laguna III, which is the most recent vehicle to come off the line and which has been on sale since October 2007, the rate is a record 17 per cent (35kg) and concerns more than 100 plastic components on every vehicle.

Renault is now stepping up its commitment by beginning a new phase in the development of projects and partnerships worldwide aimed at speeding up the establishment of systems concerning the recoverability of end-of-life products and developing other emerging environment-related activities. It is considering participating in this joint venture via an existing operation which will specialise in environment-related projects and which will be known as Renault Environnement.

Cutting down on waste

For Renault, the main priorities are to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and control treatment processes. During the production phase, the carmaker seeks to reduce metal offcuts from body panels by optimising the cutting process, reduce packaging waste, improve the application of paint to limit paint sludge, and phase out the use of high-risk substances in industrial processes.

The most recent Renault models are designed to be 95 per cent recyclable. This means that 95 per cent of the weight of the materials used to make Renault vehicles will be re-used. At the same time, the company has set an even more ambitious objective: to promote economically viable plastic technologies.

Renault is committed to using 50kg of recycled plastics per vehicle by 2015 and it is already starting to put it into practice on existing range vehicles. The dashboard of the Modus, for example, is made from recycled plastic. The same plastics could be used in a few years to produce the Renault vehicles of the future. The carmaker is working with the different players in each country to put in place appropriate waste recycling and recovery processes.

It underpins the carmaker's environmentally-friendly approach — the environmental impact of such vehicles is kept to a minimum when they are designed, manufactured and driven on the roads, as well as at the end of their useful life.
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