USCAR U.S. Field Trial for Automotive Polymers Recycling: Interim Findings 2000-01-0735
In 1998, the United States Field Trial was chartered by the United States Council for Automotive Research/Vehicle Recycling Partnership with the objective of evaluating the feasibility of collecting and recycling automotive polymers from domestic end-of-life Vehicles (ELVs). Although ELVs are among the most widely recycled consumer products, 15-25% of their total mass must nevertheless be disposed of with no material recovery; the majority of this remainder is polymeric. Concerns regarding vehicle abandonment risks and disposal practices have resulted in the legislated treatment of ELVs in Western Europe, and in the emergence of attendant material recycling schemes. These schemes support quantitatively optimized material collection, but do not appear to be sustainable under the free-market economic conditions prevalent in North America. In seeking to maximize the value of diverted materials net of handling, transportation, and processing costs, the ongoing United States Field Trial has already identified practices (including candidate vehicle and material selection, dismantler communications, recovery and safety procedures, transportation, processing, and formulation to restore material properties) that must be established in order to support a commercially sustainable enterprise.