Axion Polymers opens ELV laboratory

Lab will be able to process around 200,000 metric tons of auto shredder fluff per year.

May 1, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Auto Shredding Legislation & Regulations

The U.K.-based company Axion Polymers has officially opened new testing facilities at its Manchester, U.K. end-of-life vehicle recycling facility. The company says that the Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP) will help companies in the country to reach the European Union’s 95 percent 2015 End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) recycling and recovery target.

According to Axion, the recycling target can be reached by increasing the amount of recycled plastics extracted from ELV and returned to make new automotive components. Other materials recycled at the plant include aggregates for the construction industry and high calorific solid recovered fuel. 

Helping celebrate the opening of the new facility was the Liberal candidate for president of the European Commission and former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt MEP.

“It’s great innovation. This plant is the future and we will need more like them as we move to a Circular Economy. We should encourage the automotive industry to make more use of recycled materials that are produced here,” says Verhofstadt, who also is leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Commenting on the visit, Keith Freegard, Axion’s director, says, “While it was very rewarding to see that someone so senior in European Government has taken an interest in the new green economy that we’re creating here in Manchester, it was also the perfect opportunity to high-light the need for economic or legislative drivers that encourage more engagement from automotive manufacturers with the products that are now becoming available from end-of-life treatment.”

Freegard continues, “At the moment in the U.K. there is a lack of any positive driver to make that happen. What we need now in the next phase of moving towards a circular economy is legislation is a ‘big carrot’ — some fiscal benefit to car manufacturers who can demonstrate the conversion of significant quantities of fully traceable recycled polymers from the automotive treatment plants back into new vehicle components.

“I think that enabling good quality recycled products to break into the automotive sector and a rethink in the design of new components for cars really needs some governmental intervention to create the pump-priming effect to start it happening.”

The European End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive aims to reduce the amount of waste produced from vehicles when they are scrapped. Under the Directive, producers of vehicles are responsible for achieving certain recycling targets as well as environmental standards for the storage and treatment of ELVs. Since 2006, the UK and all other EU member states have been expected to reach a national recycling, reuse and recovery target of 85 percent, increasing to 95 percent in January 2015.

The facility, operated jointly with the U.K.-based metals recycling firm S Norton, has an annual processing capacity of 200,000 metric tons.