Even at the earliest stages of vehicle development and production, BMW considers what will happen at the end of the vehicle's service life, laying the foundations for environmentally-friendly and efficient recycling of the materials used in the vehicle. BMW ensures that wherever possible, different materials can be easily separated for efficient recycling. Right from the start, every BMW is built for minimal environmental impact.
BMW follows a philosophy of minimising negative effects on the environment through intelligent technological solutions. This extends from the earliest phases of product development to the final reprocessing and reuse of materials at the end of the vehicle's service life.
During the development of new vehicles, BMW engineers ensure that each component is designed for maximum environmental-friendliness and sustainability. Raw materials and energy are used as efficiently as possible, and waste is kept to an absolute minimum. Following the "design for recycling" principle, designers give preference to materials that can be produced cleanly and efficiently, and that can later be reused and recycled.
Recycling vehicles at the end of their service life is most efficient when components and materials can be separated and reused directly. For example, some components can be reused for their original purpose in a different vehicle: engines, transmission systems and other large components can be reconditioned and made available as spares.
This is known as "high-value recycling". By contrast, "material recycling" separates different types of materials - glass, polycarbonates or aluminium for example - and processes these to form the raw recycled material; this can be used as sources of energy or in manufacturing new products. For example, the inner wheel housing of new vehicles is comprised of recycled synthetics.
BMW's comprehensive approach to recycling is one of the reasons that BMW occupies a leading place on the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index, a financial index comprised of companies with proven commitment to sustainability in their operations.