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BIG THREE AND PLASTICS INDUSTRY OK RECYCLING PACT

 DETROIT, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's domestic auto manufacturers and a leading plastics industry environmental task force have agreed to jointly develop technology to recover and recycle plastics from scrapped vehicles.
 The agreement between the Big Three's Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP) and the Automotive Group of the American Plastics Council (APC) calls for research into the recovery, recycling and reuse of plastics from cars and trucks.
 Although plastics residue from recycled vehicles represents less than 1 percent (0.501 percent) of the solid waste sent to landfills in the United States each year, auto industry officials estimate that it still accounts for more than 1 million tons of the nation's solid landfill waste annually.
 "One of our goals is to steadily reduce the amount of automotive plastics sent to landfills," said Dr. Sandy Labana, VRP chairman. "This new collaborative effort is an important one for the auto industry because much of the nation's plastic recycling know-how resides within the membership of the APC."
 Under the recycling agreement, members of the VRP and APC will attend each other's meetings on a selective basis, a process that already has started. In addition, both organizations will continue to work closely with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and the Automotive Dismantlers and Recyclers Association (ADRA).
 Dr. Labana, who also is manager of polymer science at Ford, noted that automobiles are one of the most highly recycled durable goods in the United States today. Approximately 75 percent of every scrapped vehicle in the U.S. is recycled by stripping its useful components, shredding the remaining hulk and separating ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
 The VRP's research efforts are focused on materials that currently are not recovered, primarily plastics, glass, fluids, sealers, fabric, adhesives, paint and rubber. These unrecovered materials are referred to as "auto shredder residue" (ASR) or "fluff." ASR accounts for less than 2 percent of the nation's municipal solid waste volume by weight. The new agreement targets the plastics portion of this residue -- approximately 30 to 40 percent of total residue volume.
 "The challenge is not without its obstacles," said Martin Drigotas of DuPont, the current chairman of the American Plastics Council's Automotive Group. "Markets for recycled plastics products need to be developed and a lot of technical effort will be required to make the recovery and recycling system economically viable. But this alliance with the VRP is a big step toward overcoming these and other hurdles."
 The recovery of plastics from shredder residue is hampered by frequent contamination from paint, other plastics, metals and adhesives. Another goal of the joint agreement is to develop better methods to purify scrapped plastics.
 The labeling of plastic components to facilitate recycling also is a challenge. Recently, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors voluntarily agreed on a common code to facilitate the separation of plastic components prior to shredding. The identification system was developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and is known as J1344.
 The VRP is part of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), an organization formed by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors to strengthen the technology base of the domestic automotive industry through pre-competitive research and development.
 The Automotive Group of the APC works with all interested stakeholders -- suppliers, processors, dismantlers, shredders, transnational automotive manufactures and the government -- to ensure that the increasing use of plastics in automobile applications remains environmentally compatible. The American Plastics Council is a joint initiative with The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. Based in Washington, D.C., the APC brings together the diverse interests of 27 companies within the plastics industry and commits unprecedented resources to address the role of plastics in the environment.
 -0- 12/17/92
 /CONTACT: Larry Weis of USCAR, 313-248-4298; or Bailey Condrey of APC, 202-371-5325/


CO: American Plastics Council; United States Council for Automotive
 Research; Vehicle Recycling Partnership ST: Michigan, District of Columbia IN: AUT SU: JVN


JG -- DE002 -- 8110 12/17/92 10:06 EST
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Date:Dec 17, 1992
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