ŠKODA AUTO is consistently optimising the ecological footprint of its cars – from the extraction of the raw materials required to the end of their life cycle. Now, the manufacturer has taken another important leap forward: since the start of 2020, ŠKODA has recycled all waste produced during manufacturing and usually disposed of in landfills, either materially or thermally.
Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Production and Logistics, stressed, “As a car manufacturer, we have a particular responsibility to set a good example in terms of sustainability. Accordingly, we are consistently implementing our ‘GreenFuture’ strategy and have reached the next milestone in the ‘GreenFactory’ sub-section: we are now recycling 100 per cent of all waste generated during vehicle production. This is an important step towards even greater, all-embracing recycling efforts and a clear commitment to strengthening the circular economy.”
The company is also pursuing an eco-friendly approach to waste disposal even if conventional methods would be more economical. To name just one example, the carmaker recovers the material for numerous high-quality plastic parts from recycled waste. Whenever waste is recycled thermally, ŠKODA ensures that the energy released during incineration is used to generate electricity or heat.
ŠKODA AUTO believes in sophisticated recycling measures and collaboration with the Czech Institute for Circular Economy. In particular, however, the car manufacturer is focusing on avoiding producing any waste from the outset. The new paint shop at the Mladá Boleslav plant, for example, uses approximately 210 g less solvent per car, and requires 17 per cent less clear coat than conventional systems. In addition, no paint sludge accumulates as a waste product and the new exhaust air decontamination system reduces the amount of paint residue created per car body by more than 2 kg. The car manufacturer has not sent its municipal waste to landfills since back in 2016, and has instead had this type of waste incinerated. In 2018, the company started processing several types of sludge residue in the same way too. Since the beginning of 2020, ŠKODA has also stopped using landfill sites for its commercial waste.
The ŠKODA Academy is equally committed to environmental protection and the responsible use of natural resources: the C6000 thinner used in technical training can be cleaned using simple distillation, allowing 90 per cent of it to be reused.
ŠKODA combines its environmental activities in the ‘GreenFuture’ strategy, which is based on three pillars: ‘GreenProduct’ deals with the development of vehicles that are as eco-friendly as possible – in terms of fuel consumption as well as the materials used and their recyclability. With ‘GreenRetail’, the manufacturer is promoting eco-friendly operations at its dealerships and workshops. ‘GreenFactoryְ’ brings together all of the activities that help to conserve resources during production. Key performance indicators such as energy and water consumption or the amount of waste generated per vehicle are precisely monitored and continuously further optimised. The same applies to CO2 emissions and so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are produced when the car bodies are painted, for example.
The Czech car manufacturer is set to consistently pursue this course over the coming years: by the second half of this decade, the plants’ energy consumption for vehicle and component production will be CO2-neutral.