Lesson 4: VEHICLE RECYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE
In this lesson, we’ll delve into the essential infrastructure required for the efficient and sustainable recycling of end-of-life vehicles.
Importance of a Comprehensive Approach
- Economic improvements in vehicle recycling demand a holistic approach.
- Collaboration among stakeholders is vital to harmonize processes, quality control, and scientific support.
- Adherence to international and local regulations and market needs is crucial.
The 3R and 5R Concepts
- End-of-life vehicle recycling is often referred to as the “3R” concept: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
- The first “R” focuses on waste reduction, extending vehicle life, saving raw materials, and reducing energy.
- The second “R” involves reusing parts and assemblies in other vehicles.
- The third “R” transforms vehicle components into raw materials.
- Toyota introduced the “5R” concept, adding material cleaning and energy recovery to reduce deposited materials by 20-25%.
End-of-Life Vehicle Lifecycle
- Vehicles reach their end of life typically after 12-15 years.
- Dismantling companies salvage working parts, selling them in the used parts market.
- Processing companies shred vehicles, separating ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
- About 20-25% of the vehicle’s weight remains as a challenge in recycling.
The Global Vehicle Recycling Chain
- The vehicle recycling process spans from the manufacturer to disposal.
- The last owner initiates the cycle.
- Deregistered vehicles are delivered to used car dealers, collection companies, or dismantlers, depending on local regulations.
- Vehicle recycling infrastructure consists of various elements, including processes, material flows, and economic parameters.
- Key elements in the processing of end-of-life vehicles are clearly identified.
- Products representing income (dismantling components and scrap metal) and costs (cutting residues) are highlighted.
1 Handling Cutting Residues
- Cutting residues can be recycled/recovered or disposed of on landfills.
- Pyrolysis and other treatments can increase recyclability and recovery rates.
- Different companies have varying capabilities and capacities in handling end-of-life vehicles.
Factors Influencing Recycling Technologies
- Choice of recycling technologies depends on price, amount, type, quality, and location of landfills and recycling facilities.
- Vehicle recycling involves multiple materials, making it a complex process.
- Recycling proceeds through six main phases: handing over, draining fluids, dismantling, shredding, separation, and processing.
2 Dismantling and Fluid Draining
- After deregistration, fluids, including fuel, oils, and coolants, are drained from the vehicle.
- Battery removal and fluid draining prevent environmental hazards and facilitate dismantling.
3 Dismantling Process
- Dismantling involves taking apart vehicles, especially for valuable components.
- Many parts, like starters, alternators, engines, gearboxes, and braking systems, are repaired and reused.
- Catalytic converters can be reused or contain valuable metals.
4 Shredding of Metal
- After dismantling and fluid removal, vehicles are shredded into smaller pieces.
- Shredded materials are separated into ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
- Shredding reduces vehicle volume by about one-fifth.
5 Cutting Residue
- Cutting residue is a complex mix of materials, challenging to separate.
- It contains moisture, wood, metal, glass, sand, dirt, fluids, plastic, foam, rubber, textile, fibers, and more.
- It may contain heavy metals and combustible materials.
5.1 Recycling Cutting Residue
- Material extraction from cutting residue requires multi-stage separation and cleaning.
- Specific materials are concentrated, separated, and cleaned.
- Materials like plastic, rubber, glass, and metals are potentially recyclable but face challenges.
5.2 Material Separation
- Material separation uses various properties like size, shape, color, density, and electrical properties.
- Similar properties in different materials complicate separation.
- Polymers often overlap in properties due to various formulations.
5.3 Mechanical Separation Facility
- Mechanical systems, such as gravitational separators, electro-static separators, and vibrating lattices, are used for material separation.
- Mechanical separation facilities aim to extract polymers and metals.
- Some technologies have achieved a high success rate in separating materials.
5.4 Other Ways of Mechanical Separation
- Gravitational separator uses differences in material properties.
- Electro-static separator relies on electrical properties.
- Mechanical separation processes can improve material cleanliness from waste.
- The choice of recycling technology depends on factors like price, amount, type, quality, and location of landfills.
- Vehicle recycling is complex due to the diversity of materials.
- The recycling process involves six main phases, with dismantling and fluid draining as initial steps.
- Vehicle recycling infrastructure is vital for sustainable waste management.
- Collaboration among stakeholders ensures effective recycling.
- Recycling challenges include material complexity and the need for advanced separation technologies.
- Proper recycling practices protect the environment and extend landfill lifespans.