Making Car Parts from Recycled Plastics .pdf
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Making Car Parts from Recycled Plastics
The United States car manufacturing industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability practices
to create vehicle products. General Motors’ recently announced that it has started
manufacturing noise-reducing fabric insulation from recycled plastic bottles for its Chevrolet’s
GM collects and processes water bottles used by employees at its 5 Michigan facilities to create
noise-reducing fabric for car engines. These bottles are also being used to produce air filtration
components and insulation in jackets for the homeless. Several partners are engaged in this
development, and each one of them brings specific capabilities to this initiative.
However, this is not the first time that GM is using recycled content in its cars. It has been using
plastic caps and bottles to make air deflectors for its Volt model. The company also
manufactures radiator shrouds for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra from Ford Wayne
The sound-dampening material in the Buick Verano headliner is constructed out of recycled
cardboards. Also, the plastic caps and shipping aids from its different facilities are processed to
make radiators shrouds for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra (Caliendo Heather, 2016).
Other Auto Makers That Are Using Recycled Plastics:
The automaker Ford has been using recycled plastics to manufacture upholstery for seat
cushions in its several models. For examples, 22 plastic bottles are used to make seat fabric for
each Ford Focus.
Honda uses plastics from the scraped bumpers to create mud and splash guards. The sound
insulation layers in Nissan cars are made using recycled bottles. The carmaker also uses
recycled plastics from bottle caps to manufacture new auto parts.
Toyota has been using recycled plastics in its auto parts as well. The company recently
announced that 20% of plastics in its vehicles are derived either from plants (bioplastic) or
Chrysler uses 64% recycled plastics in the wheel liners of the Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler 200.
The seat cushions of Grand Cherokee are made from recycled polyurethane foam plastic. In
fact, 40% of the thermoplastics in Chrysler’s European cars are recycled plastics (Plastics Make
It Possible, 2014).
Plastic Recycling in India:
Plastic recycling is growing at a rapid rate in India. However, using recycled plastics to
manufacture car parts is still to find its foothold. The Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun is
working on using waste plastic bags to power car engines (HomeGrown, 2015).
Also, most plastic recycling in India takes place in informal sectors with very little regard to
workers’ safety and environmental concern. There should be clear regulations for handling,
transporting and destructing of critical plastics to create a market for sustainable recycled
plastic. And the day will not be far when everything you see in the car will be made with
These Plastic Waste Innovations In India Are Creating A Sustainable Future. (2015). Retrieved
Automotive Recycling Industry. Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (n.d). http://www.a-r-
Use of Recycled Plastics in Cars is Shifting into Overdrive. (2014). Retrieved from
GM Is Determined to Improve the Environment by Recycling. (Barnes Matthew, 2016). Retrieved from
GM Recycles Water Bottles to Produce Chevy Equinox Part. (Caliendo Heather, 2016). Retrieved from
General Motors turning recycled water bottles into car parts. (2016). Retrieved from
Tech: Gm Turns Water Bottles into Car Parts and More. (2016). Retrieved from
Turning Bottles into Car Parts. (Miel Rhoda, 2016). Retrieved from
Sustainability Report 2013/14. Ford. (Ford Motor Company, 2014). Retrieved from