Recycling plays a major part in conserving resources. Using recycled materials eliminates the production and manufacturing costs for new raw materials. Recycling is an integral part of vehicle development at Volkswagen, which means that new Volkswagen vehicles can be 85% recycled and 95% re-used. In order to realize the economic potential of this resource after a long vehicle life, Volkswagen is involved in developing state-of-the-art technologies for recycling older vehicles and their parts. Other examples in addition to the patented, award-winning VW-SiCon process for the treatment of shredder residues are the LithoRec (lithium-ion battery recycling) and ElmoReL (electric vehicle recycling – key components in power electronics) research projects into recycling components from electric vehicles.

Other examples that combine ecological benefits with economic utility include the use of recycled materials in new vehicles as well as the manufacture of reconditioned exchange parts. New vehicles from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, such as the new Passat, currently consist of about one-third recycled materials.

Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand’s Genuine Exchange Parts program is continually being expanded. In the first six months of 2014 alone, nearly 500 new exchange part numbers were added to the program. The catalog including the acceptance criteria for returns, is now available in 22 languages. The advantage to the customer is that genuine exchange parts offer the same quality, functionality and warranty but are on average 40% cheaper than the corresponding new parts. The program benefits both customers and the environment: remanufacturing engines alone saves around 7,000 tonnes of steel every year. Our experience with remanufacturing dual clutches shows that mechanical wear and tear in many components is much less than in earlier manual gear units. This means that many more components can be re-used – cutting CO2 emissions and at the same time delivering economic benefits to customers.