JLR backs innovative recycling solution for ‘low-grade’ plastics

JLR will test the technology to produce parts for its I-PACE series 

Developed by chemical company BASF and called ChemCycling, the process turns domestic plastic waste into oil using a controlled thermo-chemical process that cracks long-chain polymers into shorter-chain hydrcarbons. This oil can then be used as a replacement for fossil-fuel-derived oils traditionally used to make virgin plastics.

BASF claims that this recycling method is effective for post-consumer plastics collected from domestic environments, regardless of their quality, colour, and whether they are rigid or flexible.

The partnership between BASF and JLR, announced today (19 July), will see JLR trial the innovative recycled plastic material in the front-end carrier overmoulding of its I-PACE electric vehicles (EVs).

These trials will seek to verify that it meets the same safety requirements as virgin plastic. At the same time, JLR will assess progression in taking chemical recycling to market readiness. If the results of both pieces of research and development are positive, JLR has said that it will consider using domestically derived recycled plastic content throughout its car part portfolio.

“Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, but plastic waste remains a major global challenge,” JLR’s senior sustainability manager Chris Brown said,

“Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers. We are proactively increasing recycled content in our products, removing single-use plastics across our operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle.”

The move from JLR comes shortly after the company met its 2020 target for achieving zero-waste-to-landfill status for its UK operations, two years ahead of schedule.

With regards to plastics, this process has involved both eliminating unnecessary materials in the first instance and recycling used plastics into new products. On the former, JLR has removed 1.3 million square metres of plastic film from its manufacturing process to date. On the latter, the company has recently began offering a new interior upholstery fabric made using recycled plastic bottles, through a collaboration with textile firm Kvadrat.

Sarah George

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