Consumption & Production

Nissan Leaf & Zero Waste


17 Feb 2011

Written by

Joan Marc Simon


The new Nissan Leaf is an electric car that once it is produced it doesn’t generate new CO2 emissions –other than those associated to generating the electricity.

The Nissan Green Program focuses on reducing waste at every stage of a car’s life, from development to disposal. Hence, the car is partly made from materials recycled from old interior parts, bumpers and plastic bottles. Nissan is using materials taken from vehicles that have reached the end of their life and reducing the use of non-renewable resources and substances that will end up as waste.

Insulation layers in the floor and skin fabric of headlining are made with fibres from recycled plastic, the fabric for the seats and armrests used in the Leaf is made from recycled plastic bottles, bumpers are made from used or damaged recycled bumpers, etc… At the end of life of the Nissan Leaf a new life starts with recycling: 99% of the car and 100% of the lithium car can be recovered. Since the battery maintains 80% of its capacity after 5 years of use it can be given a second life, otherwise it can be dismantled and its materials recovered.

Nissan Leaf is a good example of how to design waste out of the system: the environmentally damaging substances are reduced, a new chemical-free system to remove paint from the bumpers is used, the lithium-ion battery can get a second life as energy storage solutions thanks to a “Reuse, resell, refabricate and recycle” venture from the Sumitomo group, the aluminium wheels from end-of-life vehicles are recycled to create high grade suspension parts, etc…

In those situations where walking, cycling or public transport are not an option Nissan Leaf offers a Zero Waste solution to get from A to B.