1993-03-01

Cost Simulation of the Automobile Recycling Infrastructure: The Impact of Plastics Recovery 930557

Much attention has focused recently on the recycling of automobiles. Due to the value of their metallic content, automobiles are presently the most highly recycled product in the world. The problem is the remainder of material that is presently landfilled. Automotive shredder residue (ASR, or “fluff”) is made up of a number of materials including plastics, glass, fluids, and dirt. The presence of this mix presents both a problem and an opportunity for the automotive and recycling industries.
In order to determine how best to recover the materials that make up ASR, it is first necessary to understand the costs incurred in the present automobile recycling infrastructure: dismantling, shredding/ferrous metal separation, non-ferrous metal separation, and landfilling. Through a technique called Technical Cost Modeling, the costs of the present process are simulated.
Using this simulation as a baseline, alternative scenarios are then developed for the recovery of plastics from scrapped automobiles based on varying automobile material mixes. These scenarios include dismantling, bulk separation, incineration, pyrolysis, and landfill. For each, sensitivity analysis is performed to understand under which conditions each is viable.

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