Vehicle Plastic Recycling
Modern cars contain more plastic than ever before, largely because manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce the overall weight of cars for better mileage. But when you sell your end of life vehicle for scrap, what happens to the plastic? After all, plastic isn’t exactly renowned as an environmentally-friendly product.
Crushed with the Metal, and then Separated
When you wave goodbye to your scrap car, our driver takes it to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). There, trained staff depollute your car so that it doesn’t contain any hazardous materials and they also remove any salvageable parts. The remaining shell and pieces, including plastics such as the dash board console, are sent to the crusher.
Flattened by the crusher, the materials are then taken to a shredder, which is usually at a specialist recycling centre. The remains of the scrap car are fed into the shredder and guess what happens next? The shredded metals and plastics come out of the shredder in small clumps. The plastic, metals and fibres are all mixed together, so they have to be sorted.
Separating the Polymers from the Alloys
The various recycling companies use different techniques for separating the plastics from the metals and fibres. Naturally, they are very secretive about their company-specific techniques, but common sorting methods include floatation, magnetism, size filtering, and manual filtering. These processes separate the plastics from the metals and fibres, and also allow the plastics to be grouped according to their polymer type.
Once the plastics are grouped, they are fed into extruders. These melt the plastics down into a liquid form that can then be formed into new shapes. Some recycling centres offer a ‘straight to product’ service, where the molten plastics are turned into the shapes that are required for specific businesses. For example, the plastic could be moulded into long lengths for use in construction. Other recycling centres produce plastic pellets from the recycled plastic. These pellets are then sold on as a recycled material, and they can be melted on their own or mixed with other materials and moulded into new shapes.
Processing for Purity
In certain industries, such as the food packaging industry, there are strict requirements regarding the purity of the recycled plastic. For these industries, the recycled plastic has to undergo a series of extra processing methods to remove impurities. That’s why the cost of high quality recycled plastic is much higher than lower grades – there is much more processing involved when the plastics have to be as pure and decontaminated as possible.
So the next time you are drinking from a plastic milk carton or bottle, you can be sure that it has been through many, many processes to make sure it meets required standards. Just don’t expect the same standards to have been applied to the plastic parts on your latest gadgets.
Will your Dashboard be Reincarnated?
If you sell your scrap car to Remove My Car, yes, it will. We can’t say whether it will reappear as a children’s toy, a sandwich box, a plastic drainpipe or even another dash board, but you can be sure that it will be recycled. All of our ATFs are registered with the Environment Agency and are required to recycle materials correctly.