The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) announce a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) to advance end-of-life and circularity solutions for durable automotive plastics. The partnership will demonstrate a pilot-scale separation line that reclaims durable plastic through efficient sorting, separation, and advanced recycling to make new high-performance plastics for reuse. Additionally, partners will seek to advance designing components for circularity from the start and evaluate whether the solutions developed can be applied to other durable plastics beyond the automotive industry, such as aerospace and renewable energy.

The MOU is one outcome of an October 2020 report, Transitioning Toward a Circular Economy for Automotive Plastics & Polymer Composites, that provides a roadmap for a circular automotive plastics industry. “Plastics and polymer composites already play a major role in making vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient,” said Joshua Baca, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division. “This partnership builds upon those efficiency gains by helping enable a circular economy for durable plastics in the automotive industry and potentially other industries.

“Many of America’s plastic makers have already made notable progress repurposing plastic waste into automotive materials. They are committed to collaborating with automotive OEMs, shredders, recyclers, researchers, and government to solve problems that will help the automotive industry, and other durable composite goods, advance end-of-life and circular economy solutions,” said Baca. “This MOU will bring that commitment closer to reality for the durable plastics and automotive industries.”

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