BMW Group supports sustainable packaging in its logistics
+++ Increase in the proportion of recycled materials in packaging +++ Nikolaides, head of logistics: “We are exploiting different options to save carbon emissions and raw materials.” +++ Other ongoing pilot projects +++
The BMW Group has implemented several projects in its packaging logistics to further save resources. With these projects, the Group aims to work closely with suppliers to reduce carbon emissions and best implement the principles of the circular economy. As part of this initiative, European factories will use more recycled materials in their packaging. This means that, for newly awarded contracts, the proportion of recycled materials in reusable packaging for logistics purposes will almost double this year, from around 20% to over 35%. However, using alternative sustainable materials, reducing single-use packaging, introducing lightweight packaging in certain areas and reducing transport volumes will also help reduce carbon emissions. The BMW Group monitors the impact of individual measures via a CO2 calculator for packaging. The Group’s overall objective is to reduce CO emissions2 20% supply chain emissions per vehicle (compared to 2019).
Michael Nikolaides, Head of BMW Group Production Network and Logistics: “Our ‘re:think, re:duce, re:use, re:cycle’ approach is also consistently implemented in packaging logistics. We use innovative strategies to constantly reduce the volume of resources we use, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. We at Logistics are also doing our part to get the BMW iFACTORY up and running, with a particular focus on the “green” side of things. BMW iFACTORY. LEAN. GREEN. DIGITAL. is the strategic vision of the global production network, which emphasizes flexibility and efficiency, sustainability and digitization. It provides a response to the challenges of the transformation towards e-mobility and adopts a global approach. “Green” means taking advantage of the latest technologies to create a production process that uses a minimum of resources.
Plastic in packaging replaced with recycled material
An example of how the BMW Group fulfills the criteria of a circular economy is the use of recycled materials in EPP packaging (EPP = expanded polypropylene). Currently, our new EPP packaging already contains 25% recycled material. PPE is used in special containers because its shape can be adapted to the packaged components, allowing them to be transported safely. About 360,000 of these containers are needed every year. Using 25% recycled materials saves us nearly 280 tonnes of CO2 annually. There are plans to further increase this proportion of recycled materials, with the first pilot projects with 100% recycled materials now underway. If these tests are conclusive, this configuration will become the standard for new contracts from 2024.
An additional 680 tonnes of carbon emissions savings can be achieved each year by using so-called small load covers and carriers with 50% recycled content. As it stands, these measures focus on European markets due to the current situation of waste management and available recycling infrastructure. We are currently working on expanding our sites in Mexico, the United States and China.
Reduction of transport volumes
The BMW Group is introducing something that will have an even greater impact on emissions: the folding of large load carriers. Starting this year, instead of steel pallet cages, we will be using collapsible plastic alternatives made from over 90% recycled materials. These work the same way as the collapsible shopping crates that most people are familiar with: when empty, they can be folded up, making them easier to transport. Using 15,000 of these new containers reduces CO2 about 3,000 tons per year.
Alternative materials with great potential for the future
When it comes to packaging, the sky is the limit. We are launching pilot projects using biobased materials to replace polyethylene and polypropylene (PE and PP) petroleum substances. We are also investigating whether and how we can use materials from recycled household appliances in our packaging. In the long term, our objective is to generalize alternatives to raw materials.
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