Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle – Volvo’s Commitment to the Environment

Environmental care is one of Volvo’s core values, and as such, they have set the ambitious yet commendable target that at least 25% of plastic used in every Volvo car from 2025 will be made from recycled material. This is the most progressive statement around the use of recycled plastic by any premium automotive manufacturer and highlights how far ahead of the field Volvo is in its commitment towards reducing its impact on the environment across all operations and products.

Volvo has been vocal about its commitment to improving car travel sustainability and has urged the auto industry as a whole to develop next-generation components which are less wasteful and more sustainable.

Last year Volvo unveiled a 'Clean Seas XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid' model during the Ocean Summit, at the Volvo Ocean Race Gothenburg Stopover. While it looked identical to the existing production model, it utilised recycled materials in various aspects of the car:

- Tunnel console was made from renewable fibres and plastics from discarded fishing nets and maritime ropes...

- Carpet contains fibres were made from PET plastic bottles and recycled cotton from clothing manufacturer’s offcuts​...

- Seats contained PET fibres from plastic bottles...

- Used car seats from old Volvo cars were re-purposed and used as sound absorbing material under the bonnet...

The real success of this special edition XC60 model is that it proves that using recycled materials doesn’t have to result in a lower quality product or outlandish design. In fact, Volvo has shown that used correctly, recycled materials can offer the same luxurious well-built interior and unique Scandinavian design that has made new Volvo models so popular.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment is keen to see the reduction of plastic use having said:

“Extensive recycling and reuse of plastic is vital to our efforts to turn the tide on plastic pollution. Volvo’s move to integrate plastic waste into the design of their next fleet of cars sets a new benchmark that we hope others in the car industry will follow. This is proof that this problem can be solved by design and innovation.”

The SMMT 2018 Sustainability Report indicates in the UK, 95% of a vehicle's weight is now reused, recycled or recovered, which is a huge step in the right direction for increased sustainability. Processing used metal saves around 92% of the energy required to process new materials and saves around 85 million barrels of oil are saved per year.

Volvo continues to be at the fore of these developments. However they are not just targeting car, they have also announced their commitment to electrify all-new Volvo cars launched.While in terms of production, Volvo aims to have climate-neutral manufacturing operations by 2025, having made sure the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden, became its first climate-neutral facility back in January 2018.

On top of that, Volvo has also announced its intention to eradicate single-use plastics across all its premises and events by the end of 2019. All of this means that when you buy a new Volvo, you can be sure that you are doing your bit for the environment.