Tue April 26, 2016

Ashley Stoney 
Tel: 202-377-9109 | AStoney@plasticsindustry.org

April 26, 2016

At its first-ever summit and expo dedicated to recycling and sustainability in manufacturing, Re|focusSPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association today released a new report, Automotive Recycling: Devalued is now Revalued. The report highlights innovative use of recycled content, achievements in zero waste in manufacturing and promotes increased recycling of plastic automobile parts. Automotive recycling is leading other industries, with 95 percent of automobiles recycled at the end of their practical life. The recycling of plastic materials in automobiles, however, is in its infancy. This new report from SPI aims to increase communications and cross-collaboration to identify hurdles and solutions to achieving increased recycling by working with the full supply chain – from resin suppliers and equipment manufacturers to processors, brand owners and recyclers.

The opportunities for recycled plastics in cars are abundant. Each year in the U.S., approximately 12-15 million vehicles are scrapped with an increasing amount of those vehicles comprised of more and more plastic components and parts. Recycling of post-industrial plastics from cars is already happening at automotive plants, as manufacturers have become leaders in managing their scrap to reduce waste. Increasingly, automotive companies are using post-industrial, and post-consumer recycled material throughout their vehicles.

“There is an opportunity for recycled plastics in the automotive sector, and we are hoping to merge key learnings from all members of the supply chain together to learn how we can best promote and grow  plastics recycling in the automotive industry,” said Kim Holmes, SPI’s senior director of recycling and diversion.

SPI and its members believe more can be achieved within the automotive sector in recycling automotive plastics at the end of their life. SPI has two projects underway to help close the loop on auto plastics. First, the Zero Net Waste (ZNW) recognition program assists the plastics industry in managing waste in manufacturing by offering specific tools to evaluate waste reduction opportunities and maximize landfill diversion.

Second, in a separate recovery effort, SPI members have begun a collaborative research project to explore the viability of collecting and recycling auto plastics from end-of-life vehicles and build a basic recovery model for whole parts before shredding. The review will help determine the feasibility of recovery today pared against material performance and demand for recycled thermoplastic olefins (TPO) and polypropylene (PP). If successful, this project will serve as a launching point to explore the opportunity to recover additional plastics, both through whole-parts recovery and eventually auto shredder residue (ASR).

The report is the second automotive-focused publication in SPI’s Plastics Market Watch series, launched last year, which studies economic, demographic, consumer and technology trends in specific plastics end markets. The series includes four reports: Automotive & Transportation, Plastics in Healthcare & Medical Devices, Plastics in Packaging, and Plastics in Building & Construction. This report also contains guidance and input from members of the SPI Recycling Committee and the Transportation & Industrial Plastics Committee.


Founded in 1937, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association promotes growth in the $427 billion U.S. plastics industry. Representing nearly one million American workers in the third largest U.S. manufacturing industry, SPI delivers legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, industry promotion and the fostering of business relationships and zero waste strategies. SPI also owns and produces the international NPE trade show. All profits from NPE are reinvested into SPI’s industry services. Find SPI online at www.plasticsindustry.org and www.inthehopper.org.

"From resin suppliers and equipment makers to processors and brand owners, SPI is proud to represent all facets of the U.S. plastics industry," said William R. Carteaux, president and CEO, SPI. "Our most recent economic reports show that the plastics industry as a whole is resilient, and has come through the recession significantly better than other U.S. manufacturing sectors."