Oslo, Norway - At least 25 percent of the plastics used in new Volvo car models from 2025 will be made from recycled materials.
"We think this makes business sense," said Stuart Templar, director for sustainability at Volvo Cars, said on Monday, in an anti-pollution plan praised by the United Nations. Recycled plastics, such as from fishing nets or old bottles, would not affect safety or quality in car dashboards or carpets, he added.
"Volvo Cars is committed to minimising its global environmental footprint," said president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson. Many big companies are designing products that can be recycled after use to limit pollution. Volvo's plan goes a step further by building ever more recycled materials into its production lines.
Volvo said it was in talks with plastics producers to achieve its "ambition that from 2025, at least 25 percent of the plastics used in every newly launched Volvo car will be made from recycled material".
Volvo sold 570 000 cars in 2017, with about five percent of plastics in its cars currently made from recycled materials; it unveiled a test model of its XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV in Gothenburg, Sweden, that looks identical to the existing car except that some of its plastic parts were made from recycled materials. The carpet, for instance, had fibres made from PET plastic bottles, old Volvo car seats were used in sound-absorbing material under the bonnet and fishing nets and ropes were used in the tunnel console, between the passenger and driver seats.
The United Nations welcomed Volvo's plan; more than eight million tons of plastics end up in the oceans each year, threatening marine life from fish stocks to coral reefs.
"As far as we are aware this is a first – an attempt to source waste as a raw material for a new vehicle," said Erik Solheim, head of the UN Environment Programme in Nairobi. "We need to see a situation in which plastic waste begins to have more value and the processes to transform it into something new will also advance."