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Where Does A Used BMW Go?

Dec 6, 2007
Because of the way a BMW will hold its value, most used BMW's are re-sold but, like anything, they do have a life span and at the end of that they're on the scrapheap.

Or are they?

BMW are the most environmentally friendly car manufacturer in existence. Their South Carolina plant in the US has been named a charter member of the US Environmental Protection Agencys National Performance Track. They have recieved this prestigious accolade because of their recycling initiative when it comes to used BMW's.

A recycling centre for used BMW's at the end of their life has won the 1992 Best Recycling Innovation Award. 85% of a scrapped vehicle is recyclable, going back into creating the next BMW on the production line. The other 15% is re-used. Tyres are sent to cement kilns for fuel and even paint sludge is used as waste energy. Outside recycling companies used are subject to regular audits from BMW to ensure they are doing exactly what they claim to.

But the environmental concerns of this company are not confined to used BMW's. It starts right at the beginning. The BMW South Carolina plant is leading the way in protecting the very air that we breath. Before building even began on their factory, consultants and experts were brought in to assess the risk of construction on surrounding wetlands and wildlife. Bird and bat houses were installed in surrounding woodland as well as an on site butterfly garden.

The South Carolina Plant of BMW is called the Information Technology Research Centre and in itself is a green building. Wherever possible, environmentally friendly materials have been used and every supplier involved with the construction project was subjected to sustainability evaluations to ensure they complied with the BMW environmental ethos.

Long term assessments from BMW have found that the company produces 17.8 million pounds worth of waste per year but through an aggressive recycling programme across the board, 14 million of that waste was recycled.

All 3,600 tonnes of cardboard that goes through the BMW plant every year is recycled along with all paper, every piece of scrap metal, all surplus wood, plastic, rubber, paint sludge, fluorescent light tubes and oil.
Its all very well being able to recycle the waste products of a business but what about the environmental impact of actually using the materials not wasted? BMW have taken this into account too, actively moving forward in all aspects.

Their landfill gas to energy project is years ahead of rival companies. Where other companies create energy at the landfill site then project it down wires to their business, thus creating more emissions, BMW use local landfill sites and pipe the methane gas directly to the plant. This process fuels 23 paint shop oven burners and supplies BMW with 63% of its total energy needs. The reduction in carbon monoxide emissions is equivalent to taking 61,000 cars off the US highway every year.

Moving down the production line, reducing the water used in the BMW factory was an area of concern, specifically in the paint shop. A reduction of 10% was aimed for but 30% was the actual achievement saving 9.5 million gallons of water per year. This equates to enough water to supply every single citizen in the US with a 4oz glass of water.

Down to the very last detail, BMW is forging ahead with looking after the environment. From recycling their rags to make insulation under the interior of their vehicles to ensuring food and drink containers in their canteen are bio-degradeable, it is so much more than just recycling a used BMW.
About the Author
Expert environmentalist Shaun Parker looks into the used BMW recycling scheme at the South Carolina plant. To find out more please visit http://www.cooperbmw.co.uk/
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