Vehicle trim, seat upholstery, bumpers – around 1.5 million tonnes of a wide variety of plastics are used in passenger cars in Germany every year. Instead of being recovered via recycling measures, much of the plastic waste from end-of-life vehicles end up in thermal waste treatment via industrial shredding facilities.
This ecological, as well as economic misery, is now being addressed by a joint research project of SICON GmbH, Volkswagen AG, BASF AG and the University of Clausthal under the direction of the Ökoinstitut Freiburg. The project pursues a multipolar recycling approach and aims to solve the problems of plastics recycling from end-of-life vehicles or shredder residues systemically and holistically.
The multiple award-winning VW-SICON process has created the basis for this through its modular approach to generating specification-compliant end products that can be adapted to the individual requirements of shredder operators. Since 2006, large quantities of so-called shredder granules PVC-poor have been supplied to the blast furnace plants of Voest Alpine Stahl Linz GmbH and Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH for metallurgical use as a substitute reducing agent.
The now gratifying renaissance of chemical recycling opens up new complementary opportunities in the medium term, but also challenges, which the research project addresses. Since the development of the VW-SICON process, SICON has already been working on a multipolar recycling approach that enables a wide range of applications for the separated plastic fractions.
Heiner Guschall, Managing Director of SICON GmbH, is pleased with the positive prospects of the research project saying:
“With this project and the cooperation with leading industrial companies, SICON shows its active role when it comes to useful and comprehensive recycling of shredder residues. We don’t just want to talk about the circular economy – our goal is active encouragement.”