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New Pilot Program Aims to Jump Start Automotive PP, TPO Recycling

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6. October 2016

The goal of the ELV Recycling Demonstration Project is to develop collection and recovery methods for PP and TPO that are technically and economically feasible.

 

A new project is looking to provide a boost to automotive recycling. Partnering on the Automotive End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Recycling Demonstration Project  are the Society of Plastics Industry (SPI), Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC), Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and a number of independent plastics and automotive recyclers. The project’s goal is to develop collection and recovery methods for polypropylene (PP) and thermoplastic olefin (TPO) auto parts in a way that demonstrates technical and economic feasibility.

 

Approximately 12-15 million vehicles are scrapped each year in the U.S. The average lifespan of a vehicle is estimated to be about 11.5 years, and increasingly those vehicles feature ever greater amounts of plastics. Recovery of plastic components before shredding is largely driven by the resale market, but some recovery for mechanical recycling is also occurring.

 

“We want to make sure that our members see the business benefit of recycling automotive plastics,” says Kim Holmes, senior director of recycling and diversion at SPI. “The way to get real buy-in is to have concrete data that build the business case for these recovery models.”

 

Another goal of the ELV Recycling Demonstration Project is to gather information to better guide design for recycling opportunities that can help inform future automotive design and recovery of plastics. “The automotive supply chain truly sees this as an opportunity to affect change on a number of levels, bringing meaningful change to the front and end of life,” says Kendra Martin, senior director of industry affairs at SPI.

 

Once gathered and analyzed, the project data and best management practices will be shared broadly with the automotive and plastic recycling industries. The goal is to predict trends in demand for recycled materials so recyclers can invest in processing capacity with greater confidence.

 

“As plastics continue to be a material of choice for vehicles due to their weight differences and other energy-efficient benefits, we are thrilled to play a leading role with SPI in the program and will continue to explore the benefits of recycling plastic automotive parts,” says Michael Wilson, CEO of the Automotive Recyclers Association.

 

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