When it comes to luxury car interiors, one is automatically reminded of plush leather or polished wood. But that won’t be the case for much longer—at least not for Jaguar Land Rover. Earlier this month, the British car manufacturer has revealed plans to produce interiors from landfill and ocean waste, in an effort to tackle the ongoing climate crisis.
That is to say, newer models of Jaguar & Land Rover will partly be made from Econyl, a type of regenerated nylon made from various materials found in landfill and ocean waste, such as fabric, industrial plastic, and fishing nets.
First introduced in 2011 by manufacturing company Aquafil, Econyl is said to reduce the environmental impact of nylon use by approximately 90%.
Sounds Great, But How Does It Work?
Turning different waste materials into the interiors of a luxury car is a process. Firstly, the waste must be broken down into raw material. This is done through a chemical process known as depolymerization. Once the process is complete, the raw material is converted into yarn, which can be used to produce car interiors such as floor mats.
Using recycled material for car interiors is not an entirely new concept. For a while now, car manufacturers have been using recylced plastic in small quantities for their interiors. However, Jaguar Land Rover is believed to be the first of its kind to use recycled materials from landfills.
Some Jaguar & Land Rover models are already incorporating recycled material in their vehicles’ interiors. Models such as the Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV, the Range Rover Evoque and the gas-fueled Land Rover Range Rover all contain Kvadrat, an upholstery textile that is composed of 53 recycled bottles of plastic (per vehicle).
In addition to these models, the 2021 Polestar 2 is also composed of vegan interiors. Polestar has also announced their plans to expand their use of sustainable materials in their future vehicles, namely a fiber-based flax material.
At the same time, the BMW i3’s cabin is also made in part from Kenaf, which is a plant-based, renewable fiber. Furthermore, Fisker has announced that the interiors of their Ocean electric SUV will rely heavily on recycled materials. Mercedes-Benz and Audi have also hopped on the bandwagon, hinting at plans to incorporate recycled materials in their future models.
As the role of cars in everyday life increases, their manufacturing processes and the environmental impact these processes have are becoming increasingly important. While moving towards sustainable materials is a step in the right direction, much more is yet to be done.