FROM BOTTLE TO FABRIC: The new Audi A3 introduces sustainable interior concept with seat upholstery made of PET

Every year, the fashion industry produces jewellery, clothes and bags from PET bottles while more and more furniture is being made from waste material such as paper shreds, plastic bottles and wood chippings. Now, for the first time, Audi is increasing its sustainable offering on the new Audi A3 with seat upholstery made from recycled material.

Sustainability is a central pillar in the Audi corporate strategy. This applies in all facets of the business from technology to the production processes.

For the first time in the fourth generation of the Audi A3, seat upholstery will be made from secondary raw materials.

Up to 89% of the textile used consists of recycled PET bottles, which are transformed into yarn resulting in fabrics that guarantee the same quality standards in look and feel as conventional textile upholstery.   

More than 100 PET bottles in a single A3

In total, up to 45 PET bottles with a capacity of 1.5 litres are used per seating system. On top of this, an additional 62 PET bottles were recycled for the carpet in the new Audi A3.

Audi’s goal is to see the percentage of recycled material in the Audi fleet rise considerably in the coming years while allowing the premium brand to continue to offer its customers the high-quality products they are used to.

Other components in the interior are also increasingly made of secondary raw materials, e.g. insulating materials and absorbers, the side panel trims of the luggage compartment, the loading floor and the mats.

How does it work?

In Germany, consumers are encouraged to recycle by using machines in local stores offering the customer €0.25 per bottle deposited.

Disposable bottles are then compressed in store ahead of transport to recycling plants where they are sorted by colour, size and quality with foreign objects such as bottle caps are separated.

These bottles are then crushed into flakes which are washed and melted down inside a mill with nozzles shaping continuous plastic strands from the matter.

Once dried, these are chopped into small pieces resulting in what is known as recyclate, a form of granulate. This is then extracted to create threads and wound into coils used in the final stages of manufacturing materials.

The new Audi A3 is due to arrive to Ireland in Summer 2020.