United States – Greater collaboration between motor vehicle manufacturers and end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recyclers is essential in order to maximise technology, employment and sustainability opportunities in both sectors, declares plastics recycling major Axion Polymers of the UK.
Welcoming the European ELV Directive’s 2015 target to recycle or recover 95% of the weight of ELVs, Axion’s director Keith Freegard suggests the legislation offers ‘tremendous scope for supporting growth and forming new partnerships in the transition towards the Circular Economy’. Pointing to the 2.47 million new vehicles registered in the UK last year, he claims it is ‘a time for change’ as investment in new recycling technologies can meet demand for greater sustainability in the booming vehicle manufacturing industry, creating benefits for all.
‘We, like many similar companies, have invested significantly in state-of-the-art technology to meet the 2015 target,’ states Freegard. ‘What’s needed now is more engagement from motor manufacturers in exploring ways of stimulating demand for recycled materials – both plastics and metals – in components for new vehicles.’
Axion’s multi-million-pound Trafford Park shredder waste advanced processing plant (SWAPP), operated jointly with ferrous and non-ferrous metals recycler S Norton, is already achieving the 95% recycling and recovery target, the company claims. It produces recycled plastics that go back into new automotive components, materials for the construction industry and high-calorific solid recovered fuel.
According to Freegard, materials from ELVs are already being captured through ‘close collaboration with the well-developed ATF network’ and partners like CarTakeBack.com Ltd. ‘It is time we made the most of these valuable established working relationships and exploit this urban mine of potential valuable and recoverable resources that’s getting bigger,’ he believes.
‘We would like to see more involvement from the motor vehicle manufacturers because this represents a fantastic opportunity for the supply of closed-loop materials to go back into the manufacture of new cars. We have the technology; we can deliver the necessary recycling target; now’s the time to drive it.’
Deliberately designed with spare capacity, Axion’s facility is capable of dealing with the complex mix of materials in modern vehicles; plastics can comprise up to 22% of a new car’s weight and this proportion is rising, the company claims. Recent investment has increased the capability for handling the complex plastics concentrate mixture from the automotive shredder residue (ASR) separation process.
Axion’s SWAPP facility, claimed to be ‘one of the most advanced’ of its kind in Europe, has an annual capacity of 200 000 tonnes, separating the non-metallic fractions (ASR) from the equivalent of around 600 000 cars a year.