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Sustainability
June 18, 2018

Volvo aims for 25% recycled plastics in cars from 2025

Volvo aims for 25% recycled plastics in cars from 2025
Volvo Cars’ ambition that at least 25% of all plastics in cars launched after 2025 will be made from recycled material. It’s the most progressive statement around the use of recycled plastic by any premium automotive manufacturer, and is another step in our sustainability journey. Volvo is continually seeking new ways to reduce our environmental impact across the board. We are demonstrating our intention by building a demo version of the XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid, which made its debut at the Ocean Summit, at the Volvo Ocean Race Gothenburg Stopover. The race’s focus on sustainability is in partnership with the United Nations Environment’s Clean Seas campaign, which asks individuals, governments and business to ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’.

This specially-built version of the XC60 looks almost identical to the existing model, but has had over 60 kilos of its plastic parts replaced with parts made of recycled materials.  

Some of the 170 recycled plastic parts include the tunnel console that runs down the centre of the front seats, made from renewable fibres and plastics from discarded fishing nets and maritime ropes.

The seats are sewn from two different kinds of textiles, both of which are made from recycled plastic bottles. The vacuum reservoir under the bonnet, which helps to regulate the turbo engine pressure, is made of recycled fabrics from airbags. The plastic coating is taken from the fabric left over when airbags are cut out. It’s then broken down and reconstituted to make hard plastic.
The hood absorber that sits under the bonnet and helps to absorb sound, is made from used Volvo car seats. The plastic foam inside the seats is taken, processed and formed into a sound absorber layer.

The demo XC60 shows the potential to create a true circular economy. With this sustainable approach, industries make greater use of recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic. This puts value on used plastics, which means less of it is likely to end up in landfills or pollute our oceans.

Currently, this is still a demo car. While every effort has been taken to make sure the recycled parts are up to Volvo standards, they need to be tested much more before we include them in our consumer-ready cars. Volvo is also working closely with existing and new suppliers to improve the availability and quality of recycled parts, and bring down costs. We’re now focused on working, with our partners, towards our 25% target.

Environmental care has always been one of Volvo’s core values, and this latest move joins our electrification strategy, our removal of diesel engines in the S60, our climate-neutral plant in Skövde, and our commitment to climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025. This car and the recycled plastics announcement are yet more examples of how we’re reducing our environmental impact.