BMW Group adopts recycled material at its European plants to drive sustainability

GERMANY – German luxury vehicle manufacturer BMW Group has revealed plans to increase the use of recycled material in its packaging across its European plants in a bid to drive sustainability.

The company aims to work closely with suppliers to reduce carbon emissions and realize the principles of the circular economy as best it can.

As part of this initiative, the European plants will use more recycled material in their packaging.

This will mean that, for newly awarded contracts, the proportion of recycled material in reusable packaging for logistics purposes will almost double this year from around 20 percent to over 35 percent.

The company’s new expanded polypropylene (EPP) packaging already contains 25% recycled material, which contributes to saving almost 280t of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions a year.

The company says that an additional 680 tons of carbon emissions savings can be made every year by using covers and so-called small load carriers with 50 percent recycled contents.

BMW Group is currently testing packaging containing 100% recycled material. If successful, this will become standard for new contracts from 2024.

In addition, the company is introducing folding plastic pallets made from more than 90% recycled material to replace pallet cages made of steel.

The use of 15,000 of these containers can reduce CO₂ emissions by around 3,000t a year.

The company also said it is launching pilot projects using bio-based materials to replace oil-based substances polyethylene and polypropylene.

The firm is exploring opportunities to use materials from recycled household appliances in its packaging. It aims to use alternatives to raw materials across its operations in the future.

BMW Group production network and logistics head Michael Nikolaides said: “Our ‘re:think, re:duce, re:use, re:cycle’ approach is being implemented consistently in packaging logistics, too.

“We’re using innovative strategies to consistently reduce the volume of resources we use, thus reducing our carbon footprint.

“We in Logistics are also doing our part to get the BMW iFACTORY up and running – with a particular focus on the ‘green’ side of things.”

BMW’s iFACTORY project is a strategic vision for its global production network, through which the company aims to improve its flexibility, efficiency, sustainability and digitalization.

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