New closed-loop technology will provide a cost-effective solution to create new sustainable materials from automotive plastic waste.
Eastman, a global specialty materials company, recently announced a collaboration with the United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP) and automotive recycler PADNOS for a concept feasibility study to demonstrate a closed-loop project to recycle automotive-industry mixed plastic waste in the automotive supply chain. USAMP is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR).
When automobiles are at the end of their life, metals, tires, and glass account for 80%–90% of the materials that can be recycled through traditional mechanical recycling streams. The other 10%–20%, referred to as automotive shredder residue (ASR), consists of mixed plastic and other non-recycled materials that currently end up in landfills or are recovered through waste-to-energy technologies. Under this initiative PADNOS will use ASR as a sustainable feedstock for Eastman’s molecular recycling process, creating a truly circular solution.
The study will also assess how well Eastman’s carbon renewal technology (CRT), one of Eastman’s two molecular recycling technologies, breaks down the plastic-rich fraction of ASR into molecular building blocks. By recycling these complex plastics in CRT, Eastman can replace fossil-based feedstock and create polymers without compromising performance for use in new automotive applications.
USAMP sees the potential for energy savings and reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions while eliminating a significant fraction of the 5–7 million tons of ASR generated annually in the United States from landfills.
Steve Zimmer, executive director of USCAR said:
“This 12-month automotive recycling project with Eastman and PADNOS is part of USAMP’s broad materials research and sustainability program.” He added: “Programs like this are critical to establishing a cost-effective pathway for addressing challenges associated with the consumption of ASR back into automotive parts to enable true industry circularity.”
Steve Crawford, executive vice president, chief technology, and sustainability officer for Eastman, cited this as a prime example of how collaboration across the value chain is essential to making material circularity mainstream. He said:
“Our molecular recycling technologies are recycling complex plastic waste at commercial scale now, but technologies alone won’t build a circular economy — it takes work across the value chain by multiple players who are determined to deliver sustainable solutions,” Crawford added: “That’s why this project is so exciting. The member companies of USCAR — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — are accelerating their approach to designing for more sustainable end-of-life solutions, and this project can be a catalyst for circularity within the automotive value stream that addresses both the climate and waste plastic issues and reshapes what we thought was possible.”
Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company’s innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,500 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The company had 2020 revenues of approximately $8.5 billion and is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA.
For more information, visit www.eastman.com
Founded in 1992, the goal of USCAR is to further strengthen the technology base of the domestic auto industry through cooperative research and development.
For more information, visit www.uscar.org
Founded in 1905, PADNOS is a family-owned and operated recycling company located in Michigan and Indiana, USA with national and global reach. With diverse processing capabilities, PADNOS is able to collaborate and innovate with customers to provide sustainable scrap solutions. Continuous improvement is at the core of the company’s history and culture, enabling PADNOS to take on today’s biggest sustainability challenges. With over 25 locations, PADNOS provides accurate and efficient scrap management for industrial manufacturers in addition to helping individual community members turn their discarded material into renewable resources. PADNOS is headquartered in Holland, Michigan, USA.
For more information, visit padnos.com