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August 2007

ECO2 Plastics evaluated for it’s ‘rinse and recycle’ applications

As part of its role in optimizing the recycling of all materials in shredder residue, the United States Council for Automotive Research’s (USCAR) Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP), recently contracted with ECO2 Plastics Inc., of San Francisco, to evaluate its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic recycling technology.

The ECO2 technology removes substances of concern from plastics recovered from “shredder residue” — the material left when end-of-life vehicles (ELV), household appliances and other large items are “shredded” by a large, grinding hammer-mill, or shredder, as part of their recycling process.

While the automakers have worked diligently to eliminate substances of concern (SOCs) from general vehicle content, some SOCs can still be found in shredder residue, which contains materials from a combination of automotive and non-automotive sources. These materials come from such non-automotive sources as appliances, building demolition materials and commercial and industrial waste. The automakers, in their continued efforts to optimally recycle all of the materials in end-of-life vehicles, have taken on a broader environmental leadership role in dealing with SOCs regardless of their source.

ECO2 Plastics is one of several private industry innovators working with the VRP and its partners to develop shredder residue recycling solutions. The shredder residue plastics are cleaned in an environmentally friendly process, which uses no water and deploys a biodegradable solvent and liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) to remove the substances of concern so that the plastic can be more readily reused.

“We are encouraged by our initial review of the ECO2 process,” said Nakia Simon, DaimlerChrysler product development engineer and VRP representative. “Innovative processes like these can help bring us closer to our goal of more fully recycling all end-of-life vehicles with the added benefit of creating a recycled product for automotive use.”

ECO2’s PET plastic recycling technology has the potential to be one of several positive recycling solutions for shredder residue.