At Bolt, we’re mindful of how we discard electric scooters at the end of their lifetime. And we’re constantly working towards reducing waste from hardware, thereby embedding circular economy principles across our scooter operations.
That’s why we’re using, reusing, maintaining, and repairing resources wherever possible to reduce waste and the need for new raw materials.
If we need to dispose of vehicles, components, or other recyclable waste, we have a robust recycling system, ensuring we don’t produce unnecessary waste.
In this article, we’ll talk about Bolt’s recycling philosophy and the process of recycling our scooters in particular.
Sustainability and Bolt
Bolt’s on a mission to make cities for people, not cars, and we put sustainability at the core of everything we do. To practise sustainability responsibly and credibly, we:
Perform Life Cycle Assessments covering cradle-to-grave emissions;
Maintain our ISO 14001 certification for having an Environmental Management System.
Circular economy principles
We embed circular economy principles across the entire lifecycle of our products and services. Wherever possible, we use, reuse, maintain, and repair resources to reduce waste and the need for new raw materials.
Since building our first easy-to-repair e-scooters, we’ve constantly been working towards extending our scooters’ total life span using durable materials. And this year, we’ve introduced our fifth-generation scooter, Bolt 5, which has a lifecycle of up to 60 months.
Life Cycle Assessmentof Bolt 5 scooters performed in August 2022 in Berlin, Germany, has shown that 100% of the Bolt 5 scooter materials can be recovered, reused, or both.
To sum up, we develop our scooters in alignment with the following priorities:
Increase the lifespan of our vehicles;
Minimise maintenance needs and thus the production of new vehicles;
Repair where possible;
Ensure robust recycling partnerships with local providers.
Reuse or recycle?
We’ve implemented a straightforward diagnostic procedure to help our teams to choose between repairing or recycling parts.
Across our operations, local teams can repair 92% of vehicle breakdowns in our warehouses. Damaged parts which cannot be repaired and must be recycled represent the remaining 8%.
Reuse functional parts
We reuse such functional spare parts as frames, handlebars, rims, and screws for other vehicles.
Recycle if a safety risk
When a vehicle is excessively damaged or presents a safety risk to the user, our mechanics thoroughly inspect it before dismantling it. In these instances, we always recycle such components as brake lines and brake discs, given how critical they are for user safety.
When talking about recycling, we must, of course, address our electric vehicles’ batteries. Proper recycling of batteries is crucial for reducing the environmental impact of our services.
That’s why we set up robust partnerships with local providers, who help us ensure that end-of-life batteries are recycled safely.
Back to scooters — we’re always looking for new ideas to prolong our scooters’ lifespan, and this year we decided to give them a new life in the form of a jewellery collection.
What is upcycling?
If recycling involves the destruction of waste (like liquefaction, crunching, etc.), upcycling uses waste in its current form and makes something new from it.
We teamed up with Tanel Veenre, an Estonian designer with a signature style of whimsical, playful creations. With Tanel’s help, we upcycled our oldest scooter models and turned them into earrings, bracelets, and pendants.
This campaign allowed us to attract attention to the importance of reuse and its environmental benefit over other waste management methods.
But clearly, not everything can and should be upcycled, and that’s why we have robust recycling partnerships with local providers.
Oslo: a specific example of Bolt’s waste management
Being an active member of Næring for KIima, a climate collaboration between Oslo municipality and businesses, Bolt is doing its part to help the city reach its sustainability goals.
To enable responsible waste management, Bolt partnered with the company RENAS, which has a network of its partners to handle various aspects of the process. Battkomp (formerly known as Yedlik) inspects and repairs scooter batteries within this network. And Norsk Gjenvinning recycles many remaining scooter waste materials, including wood, metals, plastics, rubber, and others.
In total, between 2021 and 2022, Norsk Gjenvinning has recycled 5438 kg of various types of waste, including:
wood (1200 kg);
metal (1160 kg);
plastic (675 kg);
rubber (2032 kg);
batteries (176 kg);
other electronic waste (195 kg).
Battkomp successfully repaired over 400 scooter batteries, preventing the premature disposal of 21,350 individual battery cells. The production of that many cells would have emitted over 40 tonnes of CO2, plus emissions related to packaging and transport.
To sum up, continuous follow-up and improvement, including hardware upgrades, are necessary to optimise waste management processes, maximise sustainability gains, and keep up with continuously rising standards across the shared mobility industry. To learn more about our sustainability efforts, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.