Big 3 Auto Recycling Program To Expand Focus

July 1, 2007
USCAR announces contract with ECO2 Plastics to explore 'rinse and recycle' applications for end-of-life vehicles

The United States Council for Automotive Research's (USCAR) Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP), composed of researchers from DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, recently announced an initiative to enable the recycling of all materials in shredder residue, regardless of their source.

As part of its work, the VRP recently contracted with ECO2 Plastics Inc. to evaluate its proprietary polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic recycling technology. The ECO2 technology removes substances of concern from plastics recovered from "shredder residue" -- the material left when end-of-life vehicles (ELV), household appliances and other large items are "shredded" by a large, grinding hammer-mill, or shredder, as part of their recycling process.

While the U.S. automakers have worked to eliminate substances of concern (SOCs) from general vehicle content, some SOCs can still be found in shredder residue, which contains materials from a combination of automotive and non-automotive sources, giving the program even broader potential for environmental leadership.

Currently, more than 84%, by weight of materials, of each ELV in the United States is recycled, with 95% of all vehicles going through the existing infrastructure. ECO2's proprietary recycling process addresses the plastics found in the unrecycled portion. If successful, such a system will enable recovered plastics to be more easily reused.

The USCAR VRP currently is engaged in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council to address the sustainable recycling of current and future materials from ELVs. This is the third CRADA established among the participants since the inception of the VRP in 1991.

As part of the CRADA team, the VRP is collaborating with private industry and government to discover and implement innovative recycling solutions to enhance the current market-driven U.S. vehicle-recycling infrastructure.

ECO2's PET plastic recycling technology has the potential to be one of several recycling solutions for shredder residue that fits within the current U.S. recycling infrastructure.

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