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Technical Paper

Closed-Loop Recycling of Monomaterial Door-Panel Systems

Pressures to increase the recyclable and recycled content of passenger vehicles are accelerating. In Europe, there is interest in eliminating halogenated polymers. Globally, more and more concern is focused on materials and methods that are ecologically friendly. Automakers and their suppliers are being encouraged to design and assemble components in new ways to facilitate separation, identification, and resource recovery at the end of the vehicle’s useful life - something that is not only good for the environment, but also the bottom line. One area of the vehicle that has proved challenging for applying such design for disassembly and recycling (DFD/R) principles has been the interior, owing to the sheer number of materials used there, and the great number of laminate structures that make disassembly nearly impossible. A good example is a door panel inner, which typically consists of a rigid plastic substrate, a foam pad, and a vinyl, leather, or cloth covering.