The French automobile business has just signed the French government’s Circular Economy Roadmap, which focuses on moving towards a 100% plastic recycling rate in France by 2025.
As a carmaker, we must do our utmost to limit the environmental footprint of our products and activities as much as possible in order to address the issues of global warming, air quality and the increasing scarcity of natural resources.
It is with this in mind that via our automobile business, we have just given the French government reaffirmation of our goal to increase our overall use of recycled plastics by 50% from 2013, or 64,000 tons for all of Groupe Renault.
To fulfill this commitment, we are deploying R&D partnerships with suppliers and recyclers to co-develop new recycled materials adapted to the significant technical and economic constraints of the automotive industry, as well as to the need to make cars lighter.
In parallel to these efforts, we are launching a range of initiatives focused on the circular economy that go far beyond the use of recycled materials, through Renault Environnement.
Through our subsidiary Indra, and in partnership with Suez, we recover secondary raw materials from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) for reuse in the production of new vehicles, and spare parts that we then reuse in for vehicle repairs in our post-sales network. In 2017, 350,000 ELVs were recycled by Indra and its network of 300 ELV centers!
Boone Comenor, another partner company of Suez, specializes in the recovery of metallic scrap materials from the automotive industry such as steel, copper and aluminum.
Finally, Renault’s wholly-owned subsidiary Gaia coordinates the various players in the circular economy who act during the car’s life cycle. Its purpose is to buy materials recovered from ELVs in the INDRA network (copper from electrical wiring, catalytic converters, polypropylene bumpers). It then calls on the services of partner recyclers to recycle these materials, which it finally resells to plants and suppliers of the group. It also diagnoses and repairs electric car batteries at the Flins plant and recovers automotive parts (production scrap and end-of-life parts).
In addition, for nearly 70 years we have practiced remanufacturing at the Choisy-Le-Roi plant. This entails the renovation of used mechanical parts collected in our sales network, which are then sorted and refurbished in the plant. Each year, 15,000 engines and 18,000 gearboxes are recovered throughout the European sales network. More than half of engine components and more than 70% of gearbox components are reassembled to produce mechanical parts guaranteed to perform like new ones, but priced on average 40% lower. The remaining materials are recycled in our foundries to produce new parts.
These activities, which generate more than €500 million in revenue per year, allow the group to consolidate its position as a leader in the circular economy for the automotive industry, and to use an average of 33% recycled materials in its cars made in Europe.
We still have many circularity strategies to explore: developing the remanufacturing of new components like those in electric cars, expanding recycling loops to textiles in seats and seatbelts, stepping up the use of cars in mobility solutions such as car-sharing and robo-taxis, and giving batteries from electric cars a new life to provide renewable energy storage, for example.
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Picture information: Space 4 – 53 kg of recycled plastic