10 Ways Automotive Companies Are Taking On Waste Reduction
Global waste volumes will increase by 70 percent by 2050 based on the current waste levels. This surge is due to rapid urbanization and growing populations.
While it’s almost impossible to be completely free from waste, there needs to be measures aimed at waste reduction.
The auto industry, in particular, has been in the lead in countering waste production. In fact, it’s estimated that 27 million cars are recycled globally. This makes cars the most recycled item worldwide.
For a deeper insight, let’s look into ways automotive companies are taking on waste reduction:
1. Designing Vehicles Using Renewable Resources
The automobile industry is doing a remarkable job in developing renewable resources. These resources aim to lower the amount of petroleum used for production. As a result, there’s a reduced carbon footprint.
For now, renewable materials are suitable for designing passenger seats of vehicles. However, there are ongoing experiments aimed at in-cooperating renewable resources vehicle’s design.
Toyota has successfully used bio-renewable materials. The soybean-based polyurethane foam on seats has been used in some of their car models.
2. Recycling and Reusing
Recycling and reusing materials from vehicles play a huge role in reducing waste. These efforts have a ripple effect on other related industries. For instance, recycled steel contributes to energy savings in the steel manufacturing industry.
To maintain the integrity of the material, the companies have adopted closed-loop recycling. This means adopting self-sufficient recycling processes.
However, only 80% of a vehicle is recyclable. The remaining unrecyclable parts end up disposed of in landfills. Reusing and selling these unrecyclable materials is a more viable option.
Car manufacturing companies are also using parts that are easy to dismantle. This ensures the separating of parts is easy and safe, without damaging the parts.
3. Rent Rather Than Selling
Renting a car is an emerging waste reduction method. This is especially necessary for luxury car brands. This eliminates the need for customers buying new cars for short purposes. Consequently, the number of cars manufactured reduces. In turn, reducing the number of ‘junk’ cars.
Basically, a customer is offered a lease program for a car with a warranty. The auto-manufacturer covers warranty repairs with no additional charges.
The warranty period is usually longer than the period most drivers keep their new cars.
4. Minimizing Water Usage
Wastewater makes up a significant portion of automakers waste streams. By minimizing water usage in their operations, car manufacturers cut down on wastewater.
This is achieved through the use of alternative water solutions such as chemical drying.
In some cases, some of the industries collect runoff rainwater from parking lots and rooftops. The water is then treated through ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis. Treated water is then used in boilers and chiller systems.
Re-using water also reduces costs and carbon dioxide emitted during the transportation of wastewater.
5. Packaging and Parts Distribution
There’s a lot of packaging and distribution of parts that goes on during car manufacturing cycle. This often leads to the use of lots of cushioning materials throughout the entire process. These materials add up to waste in landfills.
To mitigate this problem, automobile companies are now using recyclable wrappings.
Also, the companies have replaced the traditional wood pallets with reusable metal shipping containers. After shipping, the containers are returned to the nearest company’s distribution center, for reuse.
The container also allows for bulky packaging, further reducing the quantity of materials used.
6. Tracking Waste
By tracking waste, companies know the amount of waste it produces. This has helped automobile companies adopt measures to reduce the amount of waste produced.
Tracking waste also acts as merit through which zero-waste emission goals are met.
There are a good number of wastes tracking software that are used in addition to the manual tracking process. This combination allows automakers to make the necessary changes to become resource efficient.
7. In-House Programs
Most automobile companies understand that waste management requires a joint effort. They’ve come up with an in-house initiative aimed at raising waste management awareness.
This has seen the formation of alliances with third-party companies. They help automakers in waste management processes.
The programs also act as an incentive to the automobile employees, encouraging them to devise better ways of managing waste.
8. Getting Rid of Plastic Cutlery
Car manufacturers don’t entirely focus on waste produced during vehicle manufacturing. Some have gone the extra mile of looking into their day-to-day tasks that may be adding to the waste streams.
For instance, the cafeterias in their headquarters are getting rid of plastics cutlery. Instead, they’re using plates and spoons made from corn, sugarcane, and other renewable resources.
9. Establishing a Paperless Office
In an effort to reduce paper waste, automobile companies are aiming at establishing paperless office work. This is through the use of digital media rather than using print media.
Other technologies such as Smart Print Solution, provide an improved printing process to automobile companies. The technology reduces the cost of paper and print consumables, resulting in reduced paper use. It also helps eliminate misprinting, losing documents, and reprinting which can otherwise increase paper consumption.
10. Engaging Customers in the Waste Reduction Efforts
In spite of automakers efforts in managing waste, there’s the need to engage their customers. This is by creating channels for the customers to return their ELV directly to the manufacturers with less inconvenience. This will also help increase customer contact and brand loyalty, consequently increasing profit margins.
Typical recycling bins are also set up throughout the facility, for employees to easily recycle materials.
Waste Reduction Demands Global Effort
Car manufacturers are making huge strides towards waste reduction. But, if zero waste to landfills is to be realized, all key stakeholders in the vehicle manufacturing process need to be involved.
To protect the environment, you also need to work with an environmentally conscious company. Contact us for automotive production services using sustainable practices.