Wishcycling is hoping that things added to a recycling bin will find another life as new products. Wishcycling has been my dream for BMW's Denise Melville Head of Sustainability is making dreams reality!
Design for Recycling, as practiced by the BMW Group, brings the question of recycling forward to the very earliest stages of vehicle development. There are a number of key considerations involved in the implementation of a recycling-oriented design process. Mixed or un-reprocessable plastic materials are avoided and the variety of plastics is reduced. At the same time, greater use is made of recyclable composite materials and optimised joining techniques. And finally, parts are coded to allow identification of the materials they contain. Through the application of these measures, all BMW Group vehicles produced today can be almost totally recycled at acceptable costs. They already meet the recycling targets for 2006 laid down in the European Directive on end-of-life vehicles. Furthermore, the BMW Group possesses the technical means of complying with the new requirements for obtaining EU type approval, scheduled to enter force in 2005. Life Cycle Assessment is a tool that extends the concept of Design for Recycling still further. It involves assessing the environmental impact of new vehicles and components over the entire product life cycle – from production of raw materials and vehicle manufacturing processes through to the vehicle’s actual use and its final disposal. Intelligent lightweight construction methods are one of the ways in which manufacturers can reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions. But the materials used are not always ideal in terms of their suitability for recycling. Life Cycle Assessment permits the manufacturer to make an all-round assessment of the positive and negative aspects of materials and construction methods employed, and to identify any points of conflict. The resulting data on the overall ecological quality of the design then flows directly into the design process for new vehicles. Research laboratory and recycling plant: The Recycling and Dismantling Centre Design for Recycling and Life Cycle Assessment both depend on a sound practical and theoretical knowledge base. Much of the BMW Group’s substantial expertise in this field comes from the company’s Recycling and Dismantling Centre (RDZ) at Lohhof on the outskirts of Munich, which has been in operation since 1994. The Centre provides a vehicle-recycling research platform that is without parallel anywhere else in the world. The advances in technological know-how obtained there are shared with the BMW Group’s recycling partners. This know-how also flows directly back to the company’s own development departments, where it is used to optimise the recyclability of new product designs. Full network of collection points The BMW Group has set up a “take-back system” in Germany consisting of around 200 approved recycling facilities and collection points. In order to extend this system to cover all of Europe, the BMW Group has entered into an alliance with FIAT, RENAULT and ROVER. Dating back to 1994, the “Together for Recycling” initiative allows its members to share their respective recycling networks. In this respect, too, the BMW Group fully complies with the statutory requirements. In order to meet its obligation to take back and recycle end-of-life vehicles, the BMW Group has set aside funds to cover the anticipated risks associated with the total volume of vehicles sold by the BMW Group to date. World leader in sustainable management The commitment to sustainability demonstrated by the BMW Group in the recycling of end-of-life vehicles is a key element in the company’s business strategy. This has been repeatedly recognised by the finance and investment community. For the fourth time in succession, the BMW Group once again features prominently in the world’s major sustainable-investment indexes – Dow Jones, STOXX Limited and SAM Group. The BMW Group was rated second worldwide in the car industry. As further confirmation of the company’s ethical standards, the BMW Group is one of only two European automotive firms to have fulfilled the stringent qualifying criteria for companies listed on the FTSE4 Good Europe investment index, introduced last year.