Is your waste preventing you from taking your sustainability ambitions up a gear?

There is one announcement in particular coming out of COP27 that automotive manufactures will have a keen eye on: the Zero Emission Vehicles Declaration

The initiative, which was announced as part of the event’s Solutions Day, commits manufacturers to making all new cars and vans zero emission by 2035. It’s a bold step towards reducing the impact that the sector has on the environment.

Two key things

  • That the automotive sector has a hugely important role to play in realising global sustainability ambitions.
  • There is incentive, both economically and societally, for automotive manufacturers to make positive changes to the way they operate.
Axil Battery Recycling
Battery disposal pictured at LEVC Ansty site

As automotive manufacturers look to shore up their supply chains and reduce their environmental impact, waste can often be a sticking point. According to the ACEA, across the last six years the amount of waste produced per car has steadily risen, with opportunities for innovation going sorely underused.

It’s also no secret that the cost-of-living crisis is making it harder than ever to prioritise sustainable investments. It’s understandable that as purse strings become tighter, businesses are looking to shore up their bottom line first and foremost.

For the automotive sector in particular, wasted materials equal wasted value. And as the world looks to industry to make crucial sustainable changes, there is real cost benefits to be unlocked from accelerating action on waste management.

So how can manufacturers rethink their waste to take their sustainability ambitions up a gear and reduce revenue leakage?

Driving returns

On the simplest level, managing your waste properly should support your bottom line, not threaten it.

Rebates are the key to unlocking the value of your waste. So it’s shocking to see that, in our recent research report Exploring The Environmental and Economic Opportunity of ESG’, we found that less than half of UK companies actually receive them. And, of those that do, 25% think that they aren’t getting enough value out of them.

ESG Report Cover

It may be that manufacturers don’t have the knowledge or visibility to know where to find these opportunities. Or it could be that there is a prevailing misconception that securing these rebates takes substantial investment.

But this isn’t the case: sometimes simple, innovative thinking is all that it takes. For example, as part of our partnership with Curtiss-Wright Industrial Division we introduced new internal and external bins, with clear, colour-coded signage to promote and enhance waste segregation. After our waste review found non-compatible waste streams were being mixed, Axil’s HazPod™ was introduced (a UN-approved specialist waste container), along with red bags for solid hazardous waste. Our innovations on-site, such as new machinery, have delivered over £6,000 of savings per annum to Curtiss-Wright Industrial Division.

Simple changes such as continuous bin liners and better recycling signage can make a real difference. Forty seconds being saved by when replacing a bin may sound like a minimal difference, but over a year, across multiple sites with hundreds of waste collection points, the time and effort saved soon adds up. It’s how we helped engine manufacturer Cummins save 4,000 hours through enhancements to their processing methods and workforce management. Small actions really can help you find efficiencies in places where you least expect it.

It can be all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the ambitious targets being set by world leaders amidst a time of unprecedented economic strain. But there is still scope for innovation, and the right changes can free you up to divert labour and energy back into getting business done.

Highway to success

Leaders in the automotive sector are prioritising partnerships with the right waste management specialists. Because in this time of economic uncertainty, drawing on expertise to unlock new opportunities for optimisation will make all the difference.

Our recently announced partnership with BMW Group proves just that. It will see us re-engineer its waste management systems across all manufacturing and corporate sites in the UK, spanning BMW, MINI, and Rolls Royce.

And it’s not just reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill: it’s about transforming the manufacturer’s relationship with the waste it produces.

For example, our waste-capturing technology is capable of tracking and attributing waste to specific areas of the business, highlighting where efficiencies can be built in. And a relief mobile support team will allow for smooth transition of waste management activities to ensure the manufacturer can focus on continuing to do business as usual.

These partnerships are important – a third-party supplier can spot inefficiencies you may never have considered, applying the latest innovations and expertise to your waste streams to implement cost savings.

The results speak for themselves. For example,

We led leading electric vehicle manufacturer LEVC to re-engineer its waste streams, enabling 97% of its waste to be segregated at source for more sustainable disposal and unlocking a 212% increase in rebates from metal waste.

And within the first six months of our partnership with Cummins, we achieved the ‘zero to landfill’ benchmark that has become more crucial as we move ever closer to UK sustainability target deadlines. Moving forward, automotive manufacturers must continue to think about optimisation. Exploring potential areas where more value can be unlocked from waste will help the sector step up a gear. Making specific and tailored changes to working practices around waste won’t just help automotive manufacturers along the road to sustainable success, it will save time and money.

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To gain a clearer understanding of your waste operations, we will visit to carry out a detailed site audit.

Our waste management experts will understand your waste streams and the challenges you face— and develop a service proposal tailored to accommodate your needs.

We will explain how our innovative solutions can re-engineer your waste to reduce your costs and increase your recycling.