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Nissan Increases Recycling Effort

Car manufacturers in recent years have become more environment friendly than they were before. This is because of the growing awareness in the global community which urges every sector to contribute to the protection of the environment. That is why clean cars have been developed to reduce the damage they caused to the environment.

Aside from developing these so-called green cars, car companies such as the Nissan Motor Company are looking for other ways to help the environment. In the case of the Japanese car manufacturer, they have created the Nissan Green Program 2010 which includes the steps that they are going to take to help the environment. The said program involves the production of fuel-efficient cars such as a three-liter car or a car that can run for a hundred kilometers on only three liters of gasoline. Aside from steps such as that, the program also includes the recycling of used cars.

Recently, the third largest Japanese car manufacturer disclosed information to the public of their progress in vehicle recycling. While the Nissan Green Program sets objectives to be accomplished by the year 2010, the company announced that they have already met one of their goals as early as the current year 2007. This is in the recycling of used cars. The recycling effort exerted by Nissan is in connection with the Japan Automobile Recycling Law which was enacted on January 1, 2005. The report made public by Nissan covered three different aspects of vehicle recycling. These three aspects are in the recycling of ASRs or Automobile Shredder Residues; airbag-related components; and fluorocarbons.

In the Nissan Green Program 2010, it is the company's goal to recycle 95 percent of the used vehicles by the year 2010. The company is ahead of the legislation in Japan which will enforce the 85 percent recovery rate of used cars in terms of recycling by the year 2015. This shows how the company is concerned about the state of the environment. For the past year, Nissan reported that they have recycled 95,240.3 tons from 128,827.9 tons of ASR recovered. That amount of ASR is the product of shredding 635,440 vehicles. The figures show a recovery rate of 73.9 percent and that is higher than the 70 percent enforced by the law. In fact, this means that the company is already meeting government standards nine years before it will be enforced.

Meanwhile, the effective recycling recovery rate that Nissan reported is at 95.2 percent. This is a bit higher than the 95 percent that they have set to accomplish by the year 2010. Four years before the deadline, Nissan has already achieved one of their goals and it is a matter of refining the technologies they use to bring the effective recycling recovery rate to higher levels. This means that the residues from shredding various auto components such as Nissan fenders, hood, door panels, and other metallic and plastic parts are used by Nissan on new cars eliminating the need to deplete natural resources to create new components. Aside from these auto parts shredded, ASR also includes potentially harmful substances such as lead, cadmium and PCBs or Polychlorinated biphenyls. The proper recovery, handling and possible recycling of these substances is of utmost importance to protect the environment.

In terms of recycling airbag related components, Nissan reported that they have received 439,526 airbag related components from 229,048 vehicles. The recovery of these components involves the use of ELV or End of Life Vehicle recovery process as well as on-board deployment. The company reported that their recycling ratio for airbag related components reached a high of 94.3 percent. This means that they have far exceeded the 85 percent that they have set in the Nissan Green Program 2010.

As far as taking care of the fluorocarbons which are commonly found on the air conditioning unit of their vehicles is concerned, Nissan reported that they have collected 160,200 kilograms of fluorocarbons from 507,037 vehicles. These are then processed properly to ensure that it will not harm the environment.

All these recycling and recovery efforts cost Nissan 5,523,193,204 yen. While this may seem to be a big loss for the company, it is actually lower than the income generated which Nissan reported to be 5,642,113,359 yen. That means that the company is left with a net surplus of 118,920,115 yen.

With the current achievements by the car company, they have already exceeded the set standards by the government with time to spare. The company reported that they will continue their advances in recycling to reach 100 percent recycling. This means that 100 percent of the recovered ASR, airbag related components and fluorocarbons are utilized on new products. The Japanese car manufacturer also announced that they will be developing new technologies which will enable them to use recycled materials from End of Life Vehicles to new vehicles. The company is also aiming to make zero-landfill a possibility in Japan. The company will also be looking for ways to develop engineering steps to make vehicles easy to disassemble making easier to recycle them. This should be done in a way that the vehicle remains safe for everyday driving and especially safe from car thieves who are preying on any cars by stripping off various components.

With the increase in popularity of green cars such as gasoline-hybrid, plug-in and fully electric, and fuel cell vehicles, Nissan will be developing technologies to recycle these types of vehicles efficiently and effectively.

About The Author Ryan Thomas is a native of Denver, Colorado. He grew up in a family of car aficionados. He now resides in Detroit where he owns a service shop and works part time as a consultant for a local automotive magazine.
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