Here's some automobile-in-the-environment numbers from USCAR, the United States Council for Automotive Research:
  • Percentage of vehicles in the U.S. that "go through a market-driven recycling infrastructure" at the end-of-life (ELV) : over 95
  • How much of each of these vehicles, by weight, that is recycled : 84 percent
  • Compliance goal for ELV recycling : as close to 100 percent as conceivably possible
The Vehicle Recycling Partnership at USCAR (made up of DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM) is what's behind the push to get to 100 percent. Currently, the VRP is dealing with things like getting "substances of concern" out of shredded materials. They're also looking ahead to figure out how to deal with new, lightweight materials when those come to the end of their lives. Or, at least, their first lives.

The release is after the break.

[Source: United States Council for Automotive Research]
What's Recycled More Than Any Other Item in the U.S.? Here's a Hint - USCAR's VRP is Involved

U.S. Automakers Work With Government and Industry to Optimize Vehicle Recycling

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to statistics published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its http://www.epa.gov/ Web site, 50 percent of all paper, 34 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles, 45 percent of all aluminum beer and soft drink cans, 63 percent of all steel packaging and 67 percent of all major appliances are now recycled.

More than any of these, however, is a consumer item whose recycling percentage and trail goes far beyond the municipal waste yard. It's your car or truck, when it's no longer usable. Today, more than 95 percent of all vehicles in the United States go through a market-driven recycling infrastructure, with no added cost or tax to consumers. More than 84 percent, by weight, of each end-of-life vehicle (ELV) is recycled.

Better yet, the United States Council for Automotive Research's (USCAR) Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP), composed of DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, is working with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council to raise the recycling percentage of each ELV to as close to 100 percent as conceivably possible.

The group is now in its fourth year of its third Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), and it has been working to maximize vehicle recycling in the United States since its first CRADA in 1991.

"The U.S. automakers have long taken a proactive stance in vehicle recycling. They continue to work side-by-side with government and private industry to optimally recycle all vehicles, regardless of age, content or origin," said Don Walkowicz, executive director of USCAR. "If it's driven and disposed of here, the vehicle becomes part of the mix - along with a lot of other big disposables, like appliances and building demolition or commercial and industrial waste materials.

"The USCAR Vehicle Recycling Partnership, Argonne and the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council really are taking a national leadership role, addressing the entire lot of shredder residue, regardless of its source," Walkowicz added. "They are working to implement sustainable recycling solutions that keep waste out of landfills, save energy and put materials into reuse."

Thus far, the CRADA team impact has been broad and diverse and includes:

-- Establishing and publishing preferred practices for recycling.
-- Establishing efficient fluid removal processes.
-- Running a licensed Vehicle Recycling Development Center to establish procedures that optimize materials recovery in vehicle dismantling.
-- Researching separation technologies for commingled material streams.
-- Initiating efforts targeted at removing substances of concern from shredder residue, regardless of its source.

A plastics sorting Pilot Plant in operation at Argonne is one of the more visible demonstrations of the CRADA team's research in action. "While the CRADA team is benchmarking and evaluating a range of technology options for sustainable recycling of ELV, the facility at Argonne serves as a focal point for the team's work," said Ed Daniels, director, Energy Systems Division at Argonne and head of the vehicle recycling research effort at the Lab.

The team also is working to anticipate and meet the recycling needs for components and parts in future and emerging vehicles such as hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.

"With energy issues at the forefront, lightweighting and the use of composite materials are becoming more commonplace in vehicle content," said Jim Kolb, head of the American Chemistry Council's Automotive Learning Center. "As a result, solving the issues surrounding end-of-life for present and future materials becomes all that more important."

The research is funded by the VRP, the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council and U.S. DOE Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.

The VRP is part of the United States Council for Automotive Research, under which DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation cooperatively address shared technological and environmental concerns.

Argonne National Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC. Argonne's mission is to serve the nation by advancing the frontiers of knowledge and by providing innovative and effective approaches and solutions to energy, environmental, and security challenges.

The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, a leading trade association of resin producers, advocates unlimited opportunities for plastics and promotes their economic, environmental and societal benefits.

For more information, visit http://www.uscar.org/.

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