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Motor sector collaboration will drive growth, says recycler

16 March 2015

Greater collaboration between motor vehicle manufacturers and end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recyclers is essential to maximising future opportunities for technology, jobs and sustainability in both sectors, claims a leading plastics recycler.

Axion’s SWAPP facility
Axion’s SWAPP facility

Welcoming the European ELV Directive’s 2015 target to recycle or recover 95 percent of the weight of end of life vehicles, Keith Freegard suggests this legislation offers tremendous scope for supporting growth and forming new partnerships in the transition towards the Circular Economy.

Pointing to the 2.47 million new vehicles registered in the UK last year, the Axion Polymers Director says ‘it’s a time for change’ as investment in new recycling technologies can meet demand for greater sustainability in our booming vehicle manufacturing industry, creating shared benefits for all.

“We, like many similar companies, have invested significantly in state-of-the-art technology to meet the 2015 target,” says Mr Freegard. “What’s needed now is more engagement from motor manufacturers in exploring ways of stimulating demand for recycled materials – both plastics and metals – in components for new vehicles.”

Axion’s multi-million pound Trafford Park shredder waste advanced processing plant (SWAPP), operated jointly with ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycler S Norton, already delivers the 2015 EU ELV 95 percent recycling and recovery target. It produces recycled plastics, including Axpoly r-PP51 that goes back into new automotive components, materials for the construction industry and high calorific solid recovered fuel.  

Materials from end-of-life vehicles are already being captured through close collaboration with the well-developed ATF network and partners like Ltd. It’s time we made the most of these valuable established working relationships and exploit this urban mine of potential valuable and recoverable resources that’s getting bigger,” he continues.

Closing the loop in the supply chain would create a more environmentally-sound circular flow of materials with associated benefits for manufacturers such as reduced costs, improved margins and greater recognition of compliance with producer obligations.

“It’s a time for change and we’d like to see more involvement from the motor vehicle manufacturers because this represents a fantastic opportunity for the supply of closed-loop materials to go back into the manufacture of new cars," adds Mr Freegard. "We have the technology; we can deliver the necessary recycling target; now’s the time to drive it!”

Deliberately designed with spare capacity, Axion’s facility is fully capable of dealing with the future complexity and mix of materials in modern vehicles; plastics can comprise up to 22% of a new car’s weight and this proportion is rising. Recent investment has increased the capability for handling the complex plastics concentrate mixture from the ASR separation process. 

One of the most advanced plants of its type in Europe, Axion’s Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP) has an annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes separating the non-metallic fractions (ASR or shredder ‘fluff’) from the equivalent of about 600,000 cars a year. 

Axion Polymers is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients within the recycling and process industries on the practical development of new processing and collection methods. 

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