At our production plant in Uddevalla, Sweden, everything is recycled, repurposed, or sent to energy recovery. Even the dust on the floor, containing metal fragments, is collected. Learn how we managed to become landfill-free, in a factory handling thousands of tons of waste every year.
After not having disposed any waste to landfill for more than a year, Volvo Buses’ production plant in Uddevalla was certified as landfill-free in 2023. By working out new processes in a cross-functional team, keeping close track of the progress, and improving recycling stations – the plant has managed to reach a 99,9% recycling rate – well within the threshold to acquire the landfill-free certificate. An achievement made possible by the detail-oriented mindset among all colleagues.
“We have all the necessary processes in line, but the most important thing is the mindset among our colleagues. We are in this together,” says Linda Maxell, Production Leader and part of the cross-functional team responsible for sustainability improvements at the plant in Uddevalla.
At a plant using hundreds of thousands of materials every year, every kilo of waste is closely monitored. She has been part of the zero waste to landfill project since 2020 and followed the progress closely. She emphasizes the importance among her dedicated colleagues.
“Every single operator is responsible for sorting their own waste into specified garbage cans inside the facility. We’re continuously checking the garbage cans throughout the day to make sure everything has been sorted right – if not, we correct it immediately,” she explains.
Reducing waste and adapting a circular approach are part of a bigger picture. Volvo’s climate targets are validated by science – a guide to become fossil-free fast enough to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5° C goal. By 2030, the target is to reduce the emissions from the own operations by 50%, with 2019 as a baseline. Volvo Buses’ plant in Uddevalla is just one of Volvo Group’s facilities that has become landfill-free. By 2025, the aim is to have 55 landfill-free sites across Volvo Group.
“We all know that better waste sorting is the right thing to do, taking care of the earth’s finite resources in the best possible way. And it pays off – the better we sort our waste the more we are getting for it.”
The detail-oriented mindset has been key.
Linda Maxell and the team’s next goal at the plant is to reduce waste overall. The work will continue over the years to come to ensure that any unnecessary waste at the Uddevalla plant is eliminated. One of the first steps is get rid of the paper coffee cups at the plant and replace them with steel cups, which on its own will save 1,000 kg of waste every year.
“A single paper cup doesn’t add many grams of waste, but all together it makes a difference. To me that is an example of that details matter when it comes to sustainability.”
As part of the Volvo Group, we strive to make our production fossil-free. The main ways to reduce emissions are continuous work with energy efficiency improvements and sourcing of more renewable energy, where possible.