1997-05-20

Reclaimed Fiber Acoustical Composites - Addressing Today's Recycling Challenges 971884

Recycling of resinated and non-resinated reclaimed fiber pad, used in automotive applications as sound absorbers and insulators for headliners, package trays, floor insulators etc., has been ongoing for over thirty years. The feedstock for the fiber is a source reduction of textile industry waste, as compared to alternate first use material products. The fibers are actually reclaimed from apparel trim scrap (approx. 700MM pounds of apparel scrap produced annually). The acoustical trim product uses 60 to 100% of the available reclaim apparel scrap - material originally intended for basic necessities such as clothing, and in the case of resinated pad, blends this fibrous material with a binder resin (this only is a first use material.) During pad production, “pre-use” processing and trim scrap are reclaimed and re-introduced into production, up to 70% loading for resinated pad and up to 100% loading for non-resinated fiber pad.
The use of “pre-consumer scrap” parts into a production parts has been ongoing for many years as well. However, the recover of actual car parts, “post-consumer use”, from recycling centers is a viable and developing process. Two recovery options are further explored in this study to deal with this developing waste stream:
  1. 1.
    Physical Recycle - Regrind and reuse of fiber pad in the manufacture of new absorberlinsulator parts at various levels of recycle, with emphasis on processability, product performance and acoustic performance.
  2. 2.
    Chemical Recycle - Use of the material as feedstock for conversion to constituent starting materials via “Fast Pyrolysis”.
These options are in their intermediate or final stages of development. However, some or all of these options' could be in the implementation stage by the time automotive dismantling designs are developed at automotive recycling centers.

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