Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday, 9 September 2011

Recycled bumpers made into new ones

Mazda Motor Corp., Hiroshima, Japan, has introduced a new technology to recycle scrapped bumpers from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) into raw material to make new vehicle bumpers. Mazda says the new technology is initially being used to make rear bumpers for the company’s Biante minivan.

Mazda says traditionally bumpers are processed into automobile shredder residue (ASR) and incinerated to recover heat energy (thermal recycling). With the new technology, the company can recycle the ELV bumpers into material for new vehicle bumpers, improving the material recycling ratio (MRR) of Mazda vehicles. Bumpers comprise a large proportion of the plastic used in vehicles, and Mazda is developing bumper recycling technologies as an effective way to increase vehicle MRR.

Mazda says it already has established a program to process damaged bumpers collected from in-use vehicles through the company’s dealer network in Japan. Mazda then aimed to further develop this damaged bumper recycling technology and adapt it for recycling ELV bumpers.

According to the automaker, one of the biggest challenges to bumper recycling is that many ELVs are more than 10 years old, so the composition of the bumpers' polypropylene plastic and the adhesive properties of the paint vary considerably. As a result, Mazda notes, processing ELV bumpers into new material has previously been technically and economically difficult.

To attempt to overcome this, in the 1990s Mazda began designing bumpers to be easily recyclable, and now the number of ELV bumpers that can be efficiently dismantled is increasing. Mazda has also developed and implemented efficient ELV bumper collection and processing methods in collaboration with two Hiroshima-based companies, Yamako Corp. and Takase Gosei Kagaku Corp. As a result of the initiatives, Mazda says the cost of recycling is less than the cost of purchasing new plastic.

Initially, Mazda is collecting bumpers from end-of-life Mazda vehicles in the Hiroshima area, and the recycled plastic will comprise about 10 percent of each new bumper produced.

Currently, about 20 percent by weight of ELVs is incinerated as ASR. Bumpers comprise a large proportion of the plastic so collecting and recycling ELV bumpers is expected to make a significant contribution to reducing ASR and optimizing efficient use of resources.

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