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Activities in the Development Stage

In the development stage, we design our vehicles to avoid using environmentally harmful substances in their construction and make them easier to recycle. Additionally, to reduce our use of nonrenewable resources, we give consideration to the use of recycled plastics, other recycled materials, and renewable bio-materials. We are also examining the possibility of recycling plastic parts from end-of-life vehicles and using this material for new vehicles, searching for ways to overcome the technical challenge of maintaining quality.

3R design activities

Outline of life cycle with the Note

Considering the recycling of end-of-life vehicles and reuse of parts, it is important that design be conducted with consideration of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) during new vehicle development. We therefore prepared Design Guidelines to advance recycling design of new vehicles. These guidelines suggest areas for improvement and new ideas for design with consideration for the 3Rs.

  • Recycling ease (recoverability rate)
  • Ease of dismantling at the end-of-life stage (dismantling efficiency)
  • Material identification markings for plastic parts (plastic part marking)
  • Reduction of environment-impacting substances

Development process for 3R* design

Nissan received ISO 14001 certification for its product development process in fiscal 1998.
We have established targets for the recoverability rate, dismantling efficiency, plastic part marking, and reduction rate for environment-impacting substances in the development of new vehicles. We have also set clear criteria for the design stage, and are conducting management and evaluations of our progress in achieving these targets.

  • *Reduce, reuse, recycle

Results of recycling design

With the use of materials and development of structures that make recycling easier, we achieved a recoverability rate* of more than 90% with the 1998 Sunny, and a rate of more than 95% with the 2005 Note.

  • *Recoverability rate: Calculated based on the definition of the recoverability rate for new vehicles and the calculation method guidelines of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (1998)

  • *Since July 2007, we have been prohibiting or restricting the use of four heavy metals (mercury, lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium) and special flame retardant PBDEs,* while also steadily reducing VOCs within vehicle cabins.
    To reduce the emergence of VOCs in vehicle cabins, we have been reviewing the materials and adhesives used in our seats, door trim, and floor carpets.
    In Japan, we achieved in advance the voluntary targets set for 2007 by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association for 13 designated substances for which the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has set guidelines for use in new vehicles.
  • *PBDEs: poly-brominated diphenyl ethers

Development of easily recyclable materials

To promote the recycling of plastic materials that are currently put in landfills as automobile shredder residue, we are working to design parts with a single material. We are also changing to easily recyclable thermoplastic resins and developing other materials that are easy to recycle.

Use of thermoplastic resins

More of the thermoplastic resins Nissan uses today can be easily recycled.

Materials integrating polypropylene (PP) resins

Polypropylene resin is a thermoplastic resin with a wide range of applications that accounts for roughly half of all plastics used.
Six different materials combined with PP resins have been selected as materials that can be easily obtained in many countries.

Structure for Easy Recycling

For easier recycling, we are making modifications such as reducing the numbers of fasteners on parts and reducing the number of attachment points to vehicles.

  • 1. Radiator grille
    Structure for easy disassembly
    [Recycle + Reuse]
  • 2. Bumper
    Structure for easy disassembly + Materials for easy recycling (PP*)
    [Recycle + Reuse]

  • 3. Rear combination lamp
    Structure for easy disassembly

  • 4. Interior trim
    Structure for easy disassembly + Materials for easy recycling (PP)
  • 5. Door trim
    Structure for easy disassembly + Materials for easy recycling (PP)
  • *PP: Polypropylene

Example of easy to remove main harness

By adopting a structure that makes it easier to remove harnesses during disassembly, we have raised the harness recovery rate from about 50% to 85%.

To make materials easier to recognize

To promote the recycling of resins, we are marking resin parts (material identification) in line with ISO 14001.

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