Scrapping Together Automotive Circularity

Scrapping Together Automotive Circularity

Specialty materials company Eastman is demonstrating how its carbon renewal technology can recycle mixed plastics from end-of-life cars and use them to make new vehicles, potentially providing a mainstream circular solution for the automotive supply chain.

Eastman is partnering with automotive recycler PADNOS and the United States Automotive Materials Partnership (USAMP), a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), on the initiative.

When automobiles reach the end of their life, metals, tires, and glass comprise up to 90% of the materials that can be recycled traditionally. The other 20%, called automotive shedder residue (ASR), consists of mixed plastic and other materials that end up in landfills.

The initiative will assess how well the technology breaks down the plastic-rich fraction of ASR. With this recycling process, Eastman can create materials for use in new automotive parts—replacing fossil-based materials—without compromising performance.

USAMP sees the potential for energy savings and reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions. The process could also eliminate a significant portion of the 5 to 7 million tons of ASR generated each year in the United States.

At the same time, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, all members of the USCAR, are accelerating their approach to designing for more sustainable end-of-life solutions. This project could be a catalyst for a widely adopted process that addresses both climate change and plastic waste, Eastman says.

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