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AMERICAN PLASTICS COUNCIL AUTOMOTIVE GROUP ANNOUNCES PROGRESS AND STRATEGIES FOR RECYCLING AND RECOVERY

 DETROIT, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Plastics Council (APC) Automotive Group today released preliminary results of projects and studies that reveal substantial progress in their effort to develop solutions for the recovery and recycling of post-consumer automotive plastics. Recognizing the challenge facing automotive manufacturers to develop strategies that are responsive to major regulatory, technological and economic changes, APC is implementing a combination of existing technologies, pilot testing, and groundbreaking technical initiatives that take aim at the technological barriers to recycling plastics. Chief among these is a Ford/GE first-ever test program to use recycled Ford bumpers to produce new, current model parts. Focusing on total resource management practices that include source reduction, recycling, energy recovery and, when necessary, secure landfilling, APC has committed significant resources to this issue.
 GE/Ford Pilot Program
 Signaling the most innovative step to date, Al Maten, director of automotive programs for APC's Automotive Group, announced an APC member company joint project between GE Plastics and Ford Motor Company. The pilot program is intended to build markets to encourage reuse of automotive plastics. The program uses post-consumer materials reformulated from salvaged plastic Ford bumpers to mold new taillight housings for the 1993-model Taurus. The bumpers are made of a thermoplastic allow from GE Plastics. Automotive dismantlers collect plastic bumpers form salvaged Taurus, Sable, Tempo, Topaz, Aerostar, Escort and Tracer models. Third-party processors convert the bumpers into clean flake that GE Plastics makes into pellets. This resin meets or exceeds the engineering requirements of the material it replaces on the taillight housings. Ford says if the test continues to go well, it will start using the recycled plastics in production models by the end of the year.
 Repair and Reuse
 An APC-funded study quantified repair and reuse practices for plastic parts from four million cars processed by an insurance company. The Automotive Group learned that as much as 40 percent of selected plastic parts are repaired and reused. According to Jerry Fosnaugh, vice chairman of APC's Automotive Group and business development director of resource recovery and conservation activities for Dow Plastics, "the findings are significant because repair techniques, if developed for more resin types, can reduce the amount of plastic that is sent to landfills in the form of automotive shredder residue." The study cited chief barriers to increased repair and reuse. "These barriers," said Fosnaugh, "include lack of economic incentives; the fragmented nature of the repair industry; a lack of technical repair expertise; and the lack of an easy identification system for plastic parts."
 Dismantling Project
 Among other significant undertaking by APC is a large-scale study entitled "Recovery of Automotive Plastics Through Selective Dismantling." Working with members of the Automotive Dismantlers and Recyclers Association in New York and Massachusetts, APC has begun the collection of 100,000 pounds of selected plastic scrap for separation by resin type and evaluation of its suitability for recycling applications. With information gleaned from that study over a three-month period, APC will map out an automotive recycling system.
 Separating Plastics
 A study of equal magnitude will establish an environmentally compatible process for separating plastics from automotive shredder residue (ASR). The largest shredders produce more than 50,000 tons of ASR annually, of which about 30-40 percent of the volume -- equal to about 8 percent of the car's original weight -- consists of plastics. a full-scale demonstration system at an automotive shredder will soon be implemented. APC lab work, however, has already verified that a plastics-rich stream can be separated from ASR. These technologies have the potential to further reduce the amount of plastics destined for landfill disposal as ASR.
 Recycled Pop Bottles
 APC announced all three U.S. auto manufacturers are using recycled two-liter polyethylene tereptahlate (PET) bottles in applications ranging from headliners on 1993-4 Chrysler L/M platform vehicles and Cadillac's Eldorado, Seville and Brougham, to grille opening reinforcements on the Ford Taurus, Explorer, F-Series pickups and Econoline wagons and vans.
 Student Competition
 With the objective of encouraging young engineers and scientists to think environmentally and to work creatively with an eye towards the complete life-cycle management of automotive components, APC's Maten announced that The Automotive Solutions Competition resulted in invitations for six students from the United States and Canada to compete for a $5,000 top prize in the final judging of papers and oral presentations of solutions for recycling automotive instrument panels. Said Maten, "The students are presenting landmark ideas for the automotive and recycling industries. These young innovators represent the future of automotive and environmental engineering." The competition is sponsored by APC, a joint initiative with the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., the Michigan Materials and Processing Institute, an organization focused on polymer composite materials used in durable goods, and the Vehicle Recycling Partnership, a coalition of automobile manufacturers.
 Enormous Strides
 Summing up a wide range of announcements about the progress of Automotive Group members, martin Drigotas, chairman of the Automotive Group and manager of life cycle planning for Du Pont Automotive's Engineering Materials Division, said, "We have a long way to go but we feel we've made enormous strides during our first year in addressing the environmental issues related to the use of automotive plastics."
 -0- 03/02/93
 /CONTACT: Marv Gellman of American Plastics Council (thru March 4), 313-568-6000, ext. 4509, or after March 4, 914-354-3346/


CO: American Plastics Council ST: Michigan IN: SU:

TM-AH -- DE039 -- 2202 03/02/93 18:00 EST
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Date:Mar 2, 1993
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