Automotive engineers and manufacturers should consider “simpler” materials over high-performance composites at the initial design stage so that new motor vehicles can be more readily recycled at the end of their lives, according to a UK-based plastics recycler.
As carmakers increasing look to lightweight materials, which increase fuel efficiency and thus reduce emissions, Keith Freegard, director of Axion Polymers, warns ther is no viable recycling routes for many of the new lightweighting materials.
In a blog post on Environmental Expert he says “these vehicle components and body parts might only be suitable for energy-from-waste schemes at end of life.”
He is calling on the sector to look at locally-sourced, sustainable options first, such as innovative, highly-specified 100 percent recycled polymers derived from a stable long-term supply of end-of-life vehicles. He says these closed-loop plastics offer significant carbon savings of between 50 percent and 75 percent when compared with virgin polymers.
Axion Polymers’ 100 percent recycled Axpoly plastics are extracted from end-of-life vehicles at its Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP) at Trafford Park and further refined at its nearby Salford facility. Further investment has created higher capacity to produce greater volumes of polypropylene and a new grade of ABS, which are all traceable back to their origin in UK end-of-life vehicles.