5 October 2016

New project aims at recycling plastic parts in vehicles

The Automotive End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Recycling Demonstration Project is working on a method to recycle the plastic parts of automobiles, in an economically and technically feasible way.

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, Automotive Recyclers Association, Automotive Recyclers of Canada, Canadian Plastics Industry Association as well as other plastics and automotive recyclers also take part in the project.

Steel parts have already been recycled for years – 95 per cent of vehicles are recycled nowadays, but the new project focuses on polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic olefin (TPO) parts.

According to an SPI report, there are various opportunities for recycling plastic parts in cars, even if it is now vastly considered as costly and challenging.

Nowadays vehicles tend to contain more plastic than they used to, as it allows for a reduction in production costs and ensures lighter vehicles which consume less fuel.

 According to IHS Automotive, the amount of plastic in each car will reach 770 pounds on average by 2020 as opposed to 440 pounds in 2014.

In the US, 12 to 15 million vehicles are scrapped every year.

Kim Holmes, SPI’s Senior Director of Recycling and Diversion, said: “We want to make sure that our members see the business benefit of recycling automotive plastics... The way to get real buy-in is to have concrete data that builds the business case for these recovery models.”

The project is collecting data in order to inform automotive companies and put together best management practices for recycling auto plastic parts, as well as to encourage investment in processing capacity by recyclers.

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