Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-0846

Applying Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to North American End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) Management Processes 2005-01-0846

To improve our understanding of the ramifications of the end of-life vehicle (ELV) management practices currently employed in North America, life cycle assessment (LCA) methods will be used to analyze ELV dismantling processes, ELV shredding and baling systems, and shredder residue (SR) recovery/treatment processes. Further, it is proposed to use the ELV studies to demonstrate how the LCA process may be employed to identify and evaluate tradeoffs between alternative technologies and unit operations for handling and processing ELVs.
Literature will be examined and case studies conducted, in cooperation with industrial recycling partners, on working ELV management facilities (e.g. dismantlers, auto wreckers, wet/dry shredding processes, baling processes and SR processors). Subsequently, “successful” ELV practices, unit operations, and/or technologies will be identified, and their practical constraints and issues of concern examined. This will include concerns resulting from processing co-mingled non-ELV shredder/baler feed streams (e.g. appliances, demolition waste). Using the case study information and supplemental data, a life cycle inventory (LCI) of typical ELV management processes will be constructed. Life cycle assessment methods will then be applied to the LCI to determine tradeoffs between alternative processes and to identify preferred alternatives.
The research will identify key issues and preferred approaches for using LCA to improve material recovery and recyclability. These include:
  • Regulatory aspects of ELV management in North America and the impact of the European Union (EU) ELV Directive.
  • Issues that impede effective recovery and recycling of scrap materials (e.g., plastics) from pre-shredder/baler ELVs and from SR, such as:
    • Contamination from ELV shredder/baler feed streams (e.g. mercury, lead, chromium);
    • Contamination from co-mingled non-ELV shredder/baler feed materials (e.g. PCB, mercury, lead, cadmium);
    • Materials liberation.
  • Market reintroduction issues with respect to products and materials recovered from ELVs, such as the value of virgin materials versus recycled materials.


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