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Fast-tracking the circular economy

Car manufacturers are working hard to accelerate the industry’s adoption of circular economy production methods.

Renault, an early signatory to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – back in 2010 – is one of the industry’s trailblazers when it comes to sustainable thinking. It strives to recycle waste and reuse it where possible in the manufauting process.

The French car giant says it is committed to reducing the “environmental footprint with each new vehicle generation over the entire vehicle life cycle, by applying the principles of the circular economy in [its] processes, products and services”.

Good for the environment, it’s also sound economics for sectors to move to a circular business model. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates it could generate more than a trillion dollar for industry and society as a whole by the middle of the next decade.

Audi likes the dual benefits of this break from the linear system of take, make and dispose. The company is on board with a concept that is set to redesign the twenty first century.

“The circular economy will be a fundamental principle in the entire value chain at Audi in the future. The vision is to use raw materials in a closed loop wherever possible,” it said in its 2016 annual report.

Professor Hubert Waltl, Audi Board Member for Production and Logistics, added: “The circular economy is becoming a fundamental principle for the production and marketing of our products.”

In America General Motors is making parts, including air filters, from recycled bottles collected from a number of its Michigan sites.

While researchers in Texas have even developed a method for converting waste from the paper and pulp industries into carbon fibres that could be used to make cars.

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