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How BMW Is Working To Solve The Mess Of Ocean Plastics


How BMW Is Working To Solve The Mess Of Ocean Plastics

In case you don’t already know, we now have five massive clumps of garbage – most of it plastics – floating in the world’s oceans. The largest of it is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, literally a floating garbage dump nearly five times the size of Malaysia!

The plastic wrapper or container that you used for a short while before throwing out, ends up not only in landfills but also our oceans, which are then carried by ocean currents before ending up in one of the five naturally occurring concentration points.

The severity of the issue extends beyond just marine animals and birds ingesting the plastics, as bits of these plastics will eventually return to exert their karma upon the human race. Microplastics have already been found in nearly all types of seafood.

Among consumers, the BMW brand is best known for its premium cars but what many are not aware of is that BMW is also the world’s greenest company. BMW is the only car company to make it to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) every year since the index was established in 1999.

So while its BMW i3 is just one of the many battery electric vehicles (EV) on sale today, what separates the i3 is that it is one of the few EVs that are truly green. To say that electric cars are green would be pointless if the manufacturing of its battery, procurement of raw materials, production and disposal at the end of its service life creates more pollution than a regular combustion engine car.

The Leipzig plant that makes the i3 is powered by renewable energy, and the i3’s manufacturing process uses a staggering 50 percent less energy and 70 percent less water than the average BMW Group plant, which are already among the world’s greenest.

Even the ships that are used to transport finished BMW cars to export markets must comply to Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative (SRTI) – the first for any car company.

The i3s – the sportiest of the i3 range - was recently previewed at the ongoing Malaysia Auto Show in MAEPS in Seri Kembangan. With an estimated price of RM279,000, the soon to be launched EV is doing its part to clean up our landfills and oceans by recycling plastic bottles and other waste, turning them into floor mats, door trims and other plastic parts for the i3.

The i3’s fabric seats for example, are made of up to 100 percent recycled polyster, produced using 34 percent of recycled PET. A further 25 percent recycled plastics are used in the exterior.

On display at the BMW booth are three boxes containing PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) materials – one of the most common plastic waste – that have been recycled into pellets. These pellets are then melted down to produce a fibre that can be woven into textile surfaces.

By using recycled plastic water bottles and food containers, BMW has also to reduce the use of thermoplastics in the i3 by 25 percent.

Other recycled materials are also used on the i3’s floor mats, door trims, roof lining, as well as linings for the boot, and seats.

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