Automotive Ecology Question 4

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“Are the materials in each new car model of the brand at least 85% recyclable or reusable?”

Dutch version: “Kunnen de materialen in alle nieuwe modellen van het merk voor tenminste 85% worden gerecylced of hergebruikt?

German version: Sind die Materialien in jedem neuen Automodell des Unternehmens zumindest zu 85 Prozent recycelbar?


Millions of cars are produced each year and therefore use a considerable amount of resources. Reusing and recycling of these materials reduces the environmental impact of a car. Car brands should be continuously challenged to adopt a more cradle to cradle approach, where the concept of waste is eliminated and all materials can be reused or recycled.

This question is related to the binding EU Directive 2000/53/EC (p.9) stating that 95% of cars should be recoverable by 2015. Please note that the term -recovery- in this directive refers to the sum of re-use and recycling (85%) and energy recovery (incineration, for 10%). To be more specifc:
• ‘reuse’ means any operation by which components of end-of life cars are used for the same purpose for which they were conceived;
• ‘recycling’ means the reprocessing in a production process of the waste materials for the original purpose or for other purposes but excluding energy recovery;
• ‘Energy recovery’ means the use of combustible waste as a means to generate energy through direct incineration.

Please note that the recyclability here is partly a theoretical exercise as the practical outcomes at the end of life depend on the applied recycling technologies that may vary by recycling plant and country. However, it is desirable to take recyclability into the design of a car.

It should also be noted that energy recovery through incineration and other types of burning cause emissions of CO2 and other gases and particles, again having impact on the climate and the environment. So there is room for improvement in the EU Directive and we do not support incineration as a sustainable option. Still, for the 85% re-use and recycling, the aforementioned EU Directive provides a benchmark that has already been achieved by several car brands.

Please note that for this question we look specifically at the brand's level, so information on the conglomerate's website is only accountable when the conglomerate specifically refers to the brand.

Ranking guidelines

Rank Yes:

- When the brand claims to have achieved this benchmark.

Rank ?:

- When information on this cannot be found.

Rank No:

- When brands have not met this benchmark.