March 21, 2002

Chrysler aims to increase vehicle recycling content from 75% to 95%

Auburn Hills, Michigan – The Chrysler Group has embarked on a new program to increase the recyclability and recovery of automobiles to about 95 percent by weight and increase the use of recycled materials in production vehicles. Currently, automobile recycling is generally limited to the 75 percent by weight of the vehicle that is metallic. The remaining 25 percent is currently disposed in landfills.

“This project demonstrates that the industry can ‘care’ for the environment while protecting the bottom line,” said Bernard Robertson, Senior Vice President of Engineering Technologies and Regulatory Affairs. “Automobiles are already one of the most recycled products on the planet, but this technology presents the first real world solution to recycle the remaining 25 percent of a vehicle that still goes to a landfill.”

Chrysler Group worked with 26 production suppliers and Salt Lake City based Recovery Plastics International (RPI), to retrofit two Jeep Grand Cherokees with 54 recycled plastic parts. Chrysler Group was the first automaker to use RPI’s proprietary plastic flotation technology to separate the myriad of plastic types found in automotive shredder residue – which currently goes to landfill – and use the recovered plastic to manufacture new vehicle parts.

The recycled parts meet the same material specifications required for production vehicles and were manufactured by the Chrysler Group’s production supply partners. The suppliers used current production moulds and processes to produce the parts — at a lower cost than using virgin plastic. Chrysler Group estimates that the recycled plastic can save $10 – $20 per vehicle.

In addition to working with traditional supplier partners and RPI, the Chrysler Group enlisted the support of two large metal recycling companies, The David J. Joseph Company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Hugo Neu Corporation of New York City. By working with metal recyclers and supply partners, the CARE Car project demonstrated that a market does exist for the recovered plastic and that the recycled plastic can be used to create quality parts at a lower cost while reducing waste to landfills.

The shredder residue used to make the recycled plastic came from a variety of sources–everything from automobiles, refrigerators and dishwashers to discarded frisbees. Waste from Chrysler Group manufacturing facilities was used also to create parts on the vehicles. Polyester gloves, cloth wipes and powder paint residue were recycled and used in the production of components in the CARE cars.

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