Car manufacturers should include more recyclable materials in their vehicles, according to the director of plastics recycler Axion Polymers.
Keith Freegard said that modern lightweight vehicles often use materials that are unsuitable for recycling once the vehicle reaches its end of life.
He is calling on the sector to use more sustainable options including recycled polymers that can be derived from a stable, long-term supply of end-of-life vehicles.
Freegard said: “While I applaud the use of novel materials to make lightweight motor vehicle bodies and structural components for cars, my challenge to materials scientists and designers is to think about the simpler alternatives: mono-materials that save carbon and can eventually be recovered for reuse.”
Axion Polymers claims that closed-loop plastics offer carbon savings of between 50% and 75% when compared with virgin polymers, which makes up a significant proportion of a low-carbon vehicle’s total lifecycle footprint.
Freegard added: “In my view, our rapidly growing automotive sector offers tremendous opportunity for innovate thinking and product design, with the development of electric and hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles requiring completely new concepts.
“Crucially, the potential for incorporating sustainably sourced recovered materials, that can offer cost savings in new components, should not be overlooked.”