Axion Polymers Adds Investment to UK ELV Plant

The facility can take in 200,000 metric tons of auto shredder residue per year.

December 4, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Auto Shredding Legislation & Regulations Plastics

The plastics recycling company Axion Polymers, based in the United Kingdom, has announced the further investment of £1 million (US$1.6 million) in 2012 to optimize materials recovery from end-of-life vehicles at its purpose-built plant in Manchester, U.K.

According to an announcement, Axion's in-house engineering team designed, built and operates the highly-specialized, multi-million pound Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP) jointly with the U.K.-based recycling company S. Norton & Co.

In addition to taking in auto shredder residue (ASR) generated by S. Norton, the company also will accept ASR from other shredders throughout the U.K.

Opened in January 2011, the plant is already capable of delivering more than 95 percent recycling and recovery of materials from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), ahead of the 2015 EU ELV recycling and recovery target.

Roger Morton, Axion’s director, says, "This latest cash injection is part of on-going efficiency optimization at the facility, which has an annual 200,000 metric tons capacity. It enables Axion to separate the non-metallic fractions from the equivalent of about 800,000 cars a year.

"Although the operation is still developing, we are already delivering the 95 percent recycling and recovery target through a combination of plastics recycling, producing materials for the construction industry and fuel to substitute coal," Morton adds.

Morton says that the ability to increase the amount of material that can be recycled also reduces the costs of landfilling the excess material, which costs around $120 per ton.

Plastic concentrate is taken to Axion Polymers' Salford, U.K., plant for further processing into a range of plastic products, including some in the automotive sector.

Axion says that the polypropylene recovered from automotive post-consumer waste presents a great opportunity for manufacturers to tap into a stream of truly sustainable materials. Creating new manufactured products using materials resources that are 'mined' from closed-loop recycling routes provides a complete 'cradle-to-grave' approach for vehicle producers that is both sustainable in the long term and also lower cost.

The plastics extracted through the process, Axpoly PP51, also has potential applications in the utility, construction and wider manufacturing industries.

"Axpoly PP51 is an example of the new recovery technologies and refining techniques we have developed to satisfy the higher 95 percent target levels. We are seeing increasing interest from other ELV recyclers in using spare capacity when available on the SWAPP facility as the 2015 deadline for the 95 percent recycling target draws closer," Morton continues.

Axion works in partnership with and has hosted site visits by senior personnel from major European car manufacturers; demonstrating how the SWAPP facility is fulfilling a critical element of producer responsibility while contributing to automotive closed loop recycling.

Axion Polymers is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients within the recycling and process industries on the practical development of new processing and collection methods.

Morton says that the company is considering expanding its operations to include facilities in Europe and possibly the United States.