Hiroshima, Japan – Mazda has successfully recycled old bumpers into new ones, becoming the world’s first automaker to do so, the company said. Scrapped bumpers from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) will be used to make rear bumpers for the Mazda Biante, a minivan sold in Japan.

Conventionally, bumpers from ELVs are shredded and incinerated to produce heat energy. They make up a large proportion of the plastic used in vehicles and Mazda said it is proactively developing recycling technologies as an effective way to increase its material recycling ratio. The company became an industry leader in bumper recycling when it began processing damaged bumpers collected from vehicles still in use through its dealer network in Japan, and aims to further develop and adapt it for recycling ELV bumpers.

The process has previously been technically and economically different, since many ELVs are over ten years old and the composition of their bumpers’ polypropylene plastic and adhesive properties of the paint vary considerably. Unwanted materials such as metal attachments must also be removed before recycling. To overcome this, Mazda began designing easily-recyclable bumpers in the 1990s, and has also developed and implemented efficient ELV bumper collection and processing methods in collaboration with companies in Hiroshima. As a result of these initiatives, the cost of recycling is less than the cost of purchasing new plastic, the company said.

Initially, Mazda will collect bumpers from end-of-life Mazda vehicles in the Hiroshima area. The recycled plastic will comprise approximately ten per cent of each new bumper produced.

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