We live in a disposable world, from the convenience of everyday items such as packaged meals and razors, to our once treasured possessions like cameras and mobile phones that can simply be thrown away now.
The three Rs
As a manufacturer of vehicles, it is hugely important that at the end of our product lives we have considered how to reduce their environmental impact. This is why we focus so hard on the three Rs throughout our business: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Recycle at all stages
In Europe, the percentage of a car’s weight that should be reused or recovered will rise from 85% to 95% (of which 10% can be used for thermal recovery like incineration) in 2015. And thanks to our integrated recycling approach we have been committed to achieving this target ahead of the deadline through studies at all stages: design, production, driving and recycling.
Our cars are now virtually free of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which can cause long-term damage to the environment if buried unprocessed in landfill. We use a number of car parts and anti-corrosion coatings that contain no trace of lead, and lighting and switches without mercury. We have also removed harmful substances in our solvents and numerous types of paint.
Throughout your car’s life, batteries, tyres and oil filters will need to be replaced, which is why we set up a waste collection system to retrieve used parts from our European dealers and send them back for recovery. In addition we now offer remanufactured parts that include air conditioning compressors, power steering racks and clutch kits.
With the growth in our hybrid model production it is important that we consider the role of recycling for our hybrid batteries. Since the EU Directive 2006/66/EC was adopted in 2006, the final treatment companies responsible for recycling our nickel metal hydride batteries found in cars like our Yaris Hybrid, are legally required to meet a target recycle weight of 50%.
End of life
At the end of their usable life, Europe’s cars still leave behind two million tonnes of residue once they have been shredded to extract all re-usable materials. This residue would once have been buried in landfill or incinerated, but new directives now limit the use of this solution.