TOP > Environmental Activities > Nissan Green Program 2022 > Resource Dependency

Resource Dependency

Toward Zero New Material Resource Use

Creating a system that uses resources efficiently and sustainably, and promote services to use Vehicles more effectively (Circular Economy)

Circular Economy

With the world’s population forecast to exceed 9 billion by 2050, demand for natural resources like minerals and fossil fuels is set to rise. This makes it even more important to maximize the value obtained from these resources. The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 also emphasize the importance of managing resources sustainably and using them efficiently.

Automobiles are made of many components, incorporating a diverse range of resources. The combination of these resources creates new value. In addition to using resources as efficiently as possible, Nissan has increased its resource diversification and improved the proportion of renewable resources and recycled materials among them. Giving due consideration to ecosystems, Nissan must become more competitive as it pursues green growth. Working toward the long-term vision of reducing dependency on new materials to 70% by 2050 while maintaining the total amount to new resource usage at 2010 levels, the company is striving to minimize use of natural resources.

Nissan aims to establish systems as part of NGP2022 for using resources efficiently and sustainably across their entire lifecycle, and has adopted the concept of the “Circular Economy” to maximize the value it provides to customers and society. Nissan has long been proactive about using recycled materials and leverage end-of-life vehicles, and these efforts will now be promoted even more heavily. Nissan will also take steps—starting from the design stage—to minimize natural resource consumption by reducing the use of rare earth elements, manage chemical substances with recycling and regeneration in mind, and expand maintenance, rebuilding and component reuse programs to ensure that customers can use their vehicles for longer. Additionally, Nissan will strive to create even more value for society through the cars it sells by pursuing electrification, autonomous driving, connectedness and mobility services such as car sharing.

NGP2022 Objectives

  • Promotion of research on technical solutions for the development of bio-materials
  • Implementation of the Alliance policy on chemical substance management in order to ensure proper use of chemical substances
  • New resource usage minimization: 30% reduction of new natural resource usage per vehicle
  • Expansion of remanufactured parts: Duplation of remanufactured item coverage (vs. FY2016)
  • Expansion of battery reuse: Expansion of EV battery reuse business
  • Adoption of die-less forming: Plan and implement technical development
    Waste reduction (manufacturing): BAU 2% (Japan) and BAU 1% (overseas) reduction of waste
    Wastes to landfill reduction (manufacturing): Landfill ratio reduction

NGP2022 main activities

Nissan has set the following specific targets and plans for 2022 regarding particular important activities related to resources.

<Material alternatives that do not depend on newly-extracted resources>
By using recycled materials, developing biomaterials, conducting recycling activities in-house and at suppliers, and making efforts to reduce car body weight, out of all raw materials used in the production of cars, we are aiming to use 30% of material alternatives that do not depend on newly-extracted resources by 2022.

<Application of rebuilt products>
While reducing dependence on new resources, we have enhanced the coverage of our rebuilt products program (Nissan Green Parts) as a way to increase the convenience for our long-tern customers, and will seek to double the number of rebuilt parts to be used in the Japan, United States and Europe markets compared to current numbers.

<Reduction of waste from manufacturing sites>
The energy diagnostics team NESCO (Nissan Energy Saving Collaboration) has expanded its activities to the resource field and promotes the reduction of waste generated from manufacturing sites. It aims to reduce 2% and 1% of waste generated in Japan and overseas, respectively, as compared to the business-as-usual

<Development of biomaterials>
We promoting technological development with the aim of substituting plastic or resin-based materials used in cars for plant-derived materials.

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  Design and resource reduction

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  Design and resource reduction

process for 3R

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

Reduction of environment-impacting substances  Design and resource reduction

Stricter controls on the environmental impact of substances are being implemented in countries around the world. Examples include the European ELV Directive and the European Commission's Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation, which went into force in June 2007. To help minimize the potential release of formaldehyde, toluene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in vehicle cabins, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association has launched a voluntary program that calls for all new models launched in Japan from April 2007 to meet standards set by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for concentration levels of 13 compounds in vehicle interiors.

Nissan outlined a globally uniform policy in 2007 on reducing the use of environmental-impact substances, strengthening the management of such substances, adhering to a well-planned schedule for their reduction and advancing the use of alternative substances. Based on this policy, we have developed the Nissan Engineering Standard for the "Restricted Use of Substances." The standards identify the chemical substances whose use is either prohibited or controlled, and they are applied in selecting the materials, components and parts used in Nissan vehicles from the stage of initial development. For example, the use of four heavy metal compounds (mercury, lead, cadmium and hexavalent chromium) and the polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardant has been either prohibited or restricted in all new vehicles (excluding OEM vehicles) launched globally since July 2007.

With Renault, we have strengthened our alliance efforts by implementing common standards for reviewing hazard and risk selection standards exceeding legal compliance levels. Nissan, together with its suppliers, builds and operates information transmission and management mechanisms both internally and in the supply chain. For example, for cars and parts produced or imported into Europe, we provide information, register and notify government agencies to comply with the REACH and CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixture) regulations.

Reducing Scarce Resource Usage  Design and resource reduction

With electrification, many components will require larger quantities of scarce resources such as rare earths. Uneven distribution of rare earth elements and the forces of demand and supply give rise to concern about price changes, so minimizing their usage is an important question to address.

In 2012, Nissan has developed in a joint effort with our supplier, a new electric motor that reduced the use of dysprosium (Dy), a rare earth element, by 40 percent compared to conventional EV motors. The new, more environmentally-friendly motor started being used in an updated version of the Nissan LEAF, released in Japan in November 2012.

In addition, we are gradually expanding the use of motors with reduced Dy in hybrid vehicles. In 2016, we adopted a magnet with 70% less dysprosium in the motor for the Note e-POWER, as compared to a conventional motor; in 2017, we expanded to the new Nissan LEAF, and in 2018 to the new Serena e-POWER. We will continue to develop technologies to further reduce this usage. Looking forward, we will accelerate our technological development with a focus on components other than drive motors, so that the amount of Dy used is finally reduced to zero.

<Dysprosium-saving technology (grain boundary diffusion technology)>

Previously, dysprosium was added uniformly throughout the neodymium magnet. The newly developed motor adopts a “grain boundary diffusion technology”, making it possible to reduce the amount of dysprosium used by 40% while maintaining the same heat resistance as before. In order to increase the heat resistance of neodymium magnets, it is effective to distribute dysprosium at the crystal grain boundaries (crystal boundaries) of the magnets. Grain boundary diffusion is a technology that builds on these characteristics and keeps heat-resistance levels comparable with conventional electric motors.

Expanding our closed-Loop recycling system  Recycling

Closed-Loop Recycling

“Closed-loop recycling” is a way of recycling waste products generated during production, scraps, and in-house used products, while maintaining the quality of the materials so that they can be reused as components of the company's products. This approach allows the same materials to be used repeatedly, greatly reducing CO2 emissions and environmental impact during the product life cycle.

Nissan, in particular, focuses on three types of components which make up a high proportion of the materials used to build cars, and have relatively high environmental impact (mining natural resources, energy use during processing and disposal): “steel”, “aluminum” and “plastics”.

<Steel and aluminum>  Recycling

- In addition to efforts to reduce steel scraps generated during production, we are working to collect scraps generated in cooperation with business partners in order to recycle and convert them into automotive materials.
- We are promoting the collection and recycling of used aluminum road wheels.

Aluminum wheel recycling

Nissan has made it possible to recycle aluminum road wheels at Nissan’s factories recovered from end-of-life vehicles for use in high-quality suspension parts. This reduces the use of virgin materials. Conventionally, waste aluminum materials have been widely recycled as aluminum parts, including engines, but a higher grade has been achieved by thoroughly collecting only Nissan's aluminum road wheels at recyclers all over Japan.

<Plastics>  Recycling

- Painted bumper scrap generated at the manufacturing sites is recycled at the Oppama factory by removing the paint film in a bumper regeneration process. These have been reborn as bumpers for new cars and are used in many models, including the Nissan LEAF.
- Bumpers exchanged at dealers are collected and usually recycled as materials for components such as undercovers, etc.

Development of technology to recycle removed bumpers

We developed a device that crushes the bumpers collected by Nissan and removes the paint film at a lower cost and without using chemicals. In this way, we are able to reuse this material, which will firstly be used as a component of repair bumpers, and in the future for new car bumpers.

Development of new recycling technologies  Recycling

Nissan is actively working on the development of new recycling technologies with the aim of expanding the scope of recycled materials, and reducing the need for virgin materials through advanced recycling technologies. In order to contribute with the aim to reduce the dependency on new natural resources, as stated in the long-term vision of the Nissan Green Program, further advancement of recycling technologies is essential. We believe that these efforts will be necessary not only for Nissan, but also for society as a whole.
Nissan is implementing advanced recycling projects with emphasis on (1) Shredder dust recycling technology, (2) Lightweight car body recycling technology, and (3) Electric unit recycling technology.

(2018 results available at:(Japanese only))

1.Shredder dust recycling technology

About 200 kg of shredder dust is generated per vehicle when recycling used cars. About 30% of shredder dust is mixed plastics, and only about 0.5% of automotive shredder dust (ASR) is currently recycled. In order to reduce ASR generation, advanced sorting of mixed plastics contained in the shredder dust material is necessary. Based on the properties of the components, material recycling and chemical recycling process is being developed in order to allow for these materials to be recycled as automotive materials.

Case) Optimization of recycling process for plastics recovered from ASR

Based on its specific properties, we developed a process for selectively recovering high-quality propylene (PP) from the mixed plastics in the ASR, as PP is the plastic used in the highest amounts in cars. We developed this technology with Veolia Genetz Co., Ltd. and related companies. Based on the results obtained, we are further advancing our technology to soon apply it to automotive parts.

2.Development of recycling technology towards lighter car bodies

The use of lightweight materials such as aluminum panels and CFRP is expected to increase in the future. By further reducing car body weight, the resulting improvement in fuel efficiency will reduce CO2 emissions while driving. These lightweight materials have high performance and functionality, and when end-of-life vehicles enter a recycling stream, it is desirable to perform closed-loop recycling and maintain material value.

Case) Development of advanced sorting technology for automotive aluminum panels

Aluminum panels are available in multiple alloy grades based on the required properties for each application. In order to collect aluminum panels from used automobiles and recycle them as closed-loop aluminum panels, sorting by alloy grade is essential. LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy), though attracting attention as a high-level sorting technology for alloy components, has application difficulties for metal materials that have been painted over the entire surface, such as automobile body panels. This is due to the fact that the laser is prevented from irradiating the base metal, and does not allow the sorting accuracy to improve. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is working with Matec Corporation on the construction of a sorting process for painted aluminum panel scrap by optimizing the shredding method suitable for advanced sorting by LIBS.

3.Development of recycling technology for electric units

The expansion of hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs) in the market will contribute to the reduction CO2 emissions while driving. Many rare resources such as rare earths are used for lithium-ion batteries and motors used in these vehicles, and in order to achieve both CO2 reduction and new natural resource usage reduction, it is very important to promote recycling activities.

Case) Rare earth recovery technology development from drive motor magnets

Electric motor (EV) drive motors use neodymium magnets that contain large amounts of rare earths. In addition to reducing the amount of rare earths used, it is important to develop processes to collect rare earths from used motors. In collaboration with Waseda University, Nissan is working on the development of rare earth recovery technology using a dry recycling method using borax (Na2B4O7) as a flux with the aim of reaching high recovery rates.

Activities at manufacturing sites

Effective Use of Resources  Reuse

Nissan actively promotes measures based on the three Rs-reduce, reuse and recycle-in its production processes whenever possible, striving to minimize the waste generated and maximize recycling efficiency by means of thorough sorting of waste. Our efforts have paid off. As of the end of fiscal 2010, we have achieved a 100% recovery rate at all of our production sites in Japan: five manufacturing plants, two operations centers and five affiliates. In Mexico, the Aguascalientes plant achieved this in 2011.

Reduce - Curbing the Generation of Waste  Reuse

A panel of experts was formed in fiscal year 2002 to study technical measures for controlling waste at the source of generation. Nissan is involved in a number of activities including using returnable palettes, recycling cutting oil, investigating ways to of reducing our use of cutting oil to zero, and investing in equipment to drastically reduce the amount of waste we produce.

Reduction of packing and packaging materials

Returnable pallet

Nissan has been making great efforts to reduce the number of wooden pallets and cardboard boxes used in import and export parts shipping, replacing them with units made from steel for more than 30 years, and plastic for more than 20 years, which can be returned and foldable for reuse. We have also been working with our Alliance partner Renault to expand the use of our globally standardized, returnable containers. By promoting design activities carried out concurrently with logistics operations, we have recently been considering ways to optimize packaging shapes from the development stage, thus contributing to a reduction in the packaging materials we use.

Reuse - Reusing Waste  Reuse

Efforts at reusing include the collection and repeated use of protective coverings for parts, which in the past were disposed of after use. The goal is to steadily expand the range of parts and materials being reused at plants throughout Japan and at overseas facilities. Caps attached to protect parts during delivery to Nissan from suppliers are reused as dustproof caps in the transport of completed engines from engine plants to assembly plants.

Recycle - Recycling Waste  Recycle

Recycling based on thorough sorting of waste materials and control of waste generation at the source is essential to encourage waste reduction. Nissan aims for zero emissions in Japan to eliminate as much as possible of the waste generated during manufacturing activities.

Recycling Metal Remnants

Remnants of panels cut at press plants recycled as raw material metal.

Towards advanced scrap material recycling

In order to maintain/improve the quality of material scrap and enhance resource recycling, we centrally manage material scrap generated in the manufacturing processes of Nissan and related companies.
Specifically, we recycle processing scraps, jigs and tools and equipment scraps at manufacturing sites, and material scraps generated during demolition work (mainly iron/steel scrap). We choose the most adequate application for the material and select its final destination together with the recycler.

Activities at Dealers

Nissan Green Shop Activities  Repair/Rebuilt

Nissan Green Shop
-Three declarations and actual activities-

Wide-ranging environmental efforts at our dealerships-including separation of waste, recycling, and energy-saving activities-are essential to earning customer's trust and recognition of Nissan’s environmental activities.

In April 2000, Nissan’s sales companies in Japan introduced an original approach to environmental management based on ISO 14001 certification called the Nissan Green Shop certification system, and continue to raise the level of environmental activities. Dealerships certified in Nissan Green Shop have appointed environmental managers and secretariats to be in charge of environmental activities, and established a system for the activities. Working within this system, they ensure that end-of-life vehicles and waste are disposed of properly, and manage environmental facilities, and conduct public relations and other activities to inform customers of Nissan's environmental efforts.

Automobile dealerships are subject to various laws and regulations. The dealerships certified in Nissan Green Shop stay up to date on the practices to be carried out through the manual complied with the Automobile Recycling Law. The status of activities is monitored during regular inspections.


Sales of Nissan Green Parts in Japan  Repair/Rebuilt

Nissan Green Parts is the name given to still usable parts that Nissan recovers from end-of-life vehicles and sells after reconditioning.
In fiscal 1998 and 1999, the first years Nissan Green Parts were available, sales reached only 2 million yen, however in fiscal 2013 grew to ¥1.5 billion.
This growth demonstrates that customers recognize Nissan Green Parts as a reasonable option for use in repairs of their vehicles. We plan to improve the matching rate between the parts collected by recyclers and our customers' needs, and make further efforts to give customers exactly what they want.

Nissan Green Parts include both reused and rebuilt parts. Reused parts are recovered parts that have been cleaned and passed a quality check, while rebuilt parts are those that have been disassembled, washed, checked, and had worn components replaced.

Lineup of rebuilt parts
Lineup of reused parts
Automatic transmissions, brake shoes, power steering pumps, alternators, starters, drive shafts, power steering gears, turbochargers, air-conditioner compressors, injection pumps, CVT, viscous coupling and throttle chamber.. Headlamps, combination lamps, doors, door mirrors, fenders, bumpers, hoods, meters, starters, wiper motors, drive shafts, and power steering and linkage.

Bumper recovery and recycling in Japan  Recycling

Collected bumper

Nissan is working to collect and recycle used plastic bumpers obtained during the repair and replacement of vehicle parts at dealers nationwide. The collected bumpers are recycled into plastic parts for new vehicles through a recycling process. These efforts were begun at dealerships in 1992, and are becoming firmly entrenched.

Compliance with Automobile Recycling Laws  Recycling

Activities matched to the regulations and conditions in each country

Nissan makes every effort to satisfy the various laws and regulations related to end-of-life vehicles. To assure our customers that end-of-life vehicles are being disposed of and recycled properly, we are cooperating with various partners to raise the effectiveness of our activities.

Laws and regulations differ by country and region; the social infrastructure, including collection routes and the status of recycling industries, also varies. Our basic policy at Nissan is "global products, local disposal." While we have common design criteria for the world, end-of-life vehicles must be dealt with in full consideration of the situation in each country and region. In Japan, as industrial waste landfills approach their capacity and illegal dumping and disposal of shredder residue is a concern, Japan's Automobile Recycling Law went into effect on January 1, 2005, and requires that automobile manufacturers collect and recycle Automobile Shredder Residue(ASR), chlorofluorocarbons, and airbags.

In Europe, an EU directive on end-of-life vehicles was issued in 2000, and places the burden of responsibility for recycling end-of-life vehicles on manufacturers and dealers. In addition to Japan and Europe, Nissan has begun conducting surveys on recycling trends in North America, Central and South America, and Asia.

Future tasks will be based on Nissan's global policy, with a local approach suited to the regulatory environment and industry of each country.

Chlorofluorocarbon recovery

Chlorofluorocarbon recovery tanks

Nissan has contracted the Japan Automobile Recycling Promotion Center to recover and destroy specified chlorofluorocarbons (CFC12) and their alternatives, hydro-fluorocarbons (HFC134a), which are used as alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons, based on a law for the recovery and destruction of chlorofluorocarbons that went into effect in October 2002.

Since January 2005, Nissan has been conducting its own processes based on the Automobile Recycling Law to break down recovered chlorofluorocarbons (CFC12) and the hydro-fluorocarbons (HFC134a) that are used as their substitutes.

Activities in Japan

Since the passage of the Automobile Recycling Law in 2002, we have conducted preparations in various fields to meet its requirements, including continuing work to raise the recoverability of new vehicles, developing dismantling technologies, and preparing responses at our dealerships and developing overall systems.


Leading the Industry in Legal Compliance

Automobile Shredder Residue Recycling Promotion Team (ART)

As part of its efforts to comply with the law and increase the efficiency of its resource recovery, Nissan is one of 11 automobile manufacturers and other firms that formed the ASR Recycling Promotion Team (ART). As a leading member of the ART, Nissan is working to improve recovery cost efficiency for vehicle owners.

Activities in Europe

In Europe, an EU directive on end-of-life vehicles issued in October 2000 places the burden of responsibility for collection and recycling of end-of-life vehicles on manufacturers and dealers (distributors). EU countries have enacted various laws based on this directive.


Alliance with Renault

Nissan Europe and Renault S.A. have joined together to build an end-of-life vehicle collection and recycling network, gather information and provide support to dealerships in each EU country.


Cooperation with distributors in each EU country

Regular meetings are held with representatives from distributors in each EU country to work on the creation of a specific network for collection and recycling of end-of-life vehicles suited to the trends in the laws and regulations of each country.




Provision of dismantling information

In Europe, automakers must provide dismantling information for new vehicles to automobile scrappers. To meet this requirement, Nissan is participating in the International Dismantling Information System (IDIS) started and operated jointly by a consortium of automobile manufacturers. This system prepares dismantling information in electronic formats.

Details on IDIS

Activities in South Korea

South Korea enacted regulations for end-of-life vehicles in January 2008, which place responsibility for collection and recycling of end-of-life vehicles on the automobile manufacturer or automobile importer. Nissan Motor Company and Nissan Korea are working together to meet these regulations.