GRN Recycle Talk FAQ

Date: Wed May 13 1998 - 07:08:00 EDT

Date: Wed, 13 May 98 12:08 WET DST
Subject: Re: Recycling Vehicles (Marco Ormaetxea)

May 13, 1998

Dear Marco Ormaetxea,

What parts of motor vehicles can be recycled?

Virtually everything found in motor vehicles can be recycled: tires, batteries, metals, plastics, ceramics, and automotive fluids as well.
The most problemmatic materials are automotive plastics which are the major contributors to fluff of Automotive Shredder Residue. Argonne National Labs of the US Dept. of Energy, worked on the problem of shredder residue in 1992, but I do not know the results.
In the US, the leader in research and development has been a cooperative agreement between the Society of Automotive Engineers and Chrysler, Ford and GM, called,
the Vehicle Recycling Development Center, in Highland Park, MI. You can find out more info on them at:

The movement for a totally recyclably designed car began in Europe with tremendous strides being made by French and German auto manufacturers.
According to the 1990 German Regulations for reducing production of wastes, recycling and reuse of car shredder residue , German manufacturers or their agents must take back a used vehicle from the last owner free of charge and reuse or recycle parts safely, and remove and recycle fluids. As of 1992, the EC, led by the French, was to have drafted similar legislation based on the German model.

The other contents of fluff: fluids, rubber, wire insulation, carpet fabrics, moldings require effective ways to separate them.

The key issue is one of design.


In the US, as of 1992, 10 million vehicles per year were being recycled according to the Automotive Recyclers Assn. of Fairfax, VA. This provided 37% of all ferrous scrap to recycling markets. This figure is most assuredly, much higher today. A database of the reuse industry set up by Professor Robert Lund of Boston University includes remanufacturers from several industries, most notably the auto parts industry. Further statistics are obtainable from that database.

Unheralded, the auto parts industry has been reusing and remanufacturing with autmotive ferrous metals for many years, antedating the current recycling wave.

- Research Library for RCRA

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