Chrysler Turns Garbage Into Car Parts

Chrysler Turns Garbage Into Car Parts

The Chrysler Group has announced a new recycling technology, demonstrated in its CARE Car II program, that will allow the company to increase the amount of recycled-content parts in its vehicles. The company says the technology has the potential to save the automobile industry $320 million per year.

Chrysler Group worked with 26 production suppliers and Salt Lake City-based Recovery Plastics International, to retrofit two Jeep Grand Cherokees with 54 recycled plastic parts. The shredder residue used to make the recycled plastic came from a variety of sources, including automobiles, refrigerators, dishwashers, and discarded frisbees. Polyester gloves, cloth wipes, and powder paint residue from the company’s manufacturing facilities were also used in the production of components in the cars. Chrysler Group estimates that the recycled plastic can save $10 - $20 per vehicle.

"This project demonstrates that the industry can 'care' for the environment while protecting the bottom line,'' said Bernard Robertson, senior vice president of engineering technologies and regulatory affairs. "Automobiles are already one of the most recycled products on the planet, but this technology presents the first real-world solution to recycle the remaining 25% of a vehicle that still goes to a landfill.''

The recycled parts meet the same material specifications required for production vehicles and were manufactured by the Chrysler Group's production supply partners. The suppliers used current production molds and processes to produce the parts -- at a lower cost than using virgin plastic.

"It's critical to enlist our supplier partners in the technology development process so we identify potential issues early and bring new technologies to market faster,'' Robertson said. "Our suppliers are the key factor in moving innovative technology from the lab into high volume production.''

In addition to working with traditional supplier partners and RPI, the Chrysler Group enlisted the support of two large metal recycling companies, The David J. Joseph Company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Hugo Neu Corporation of New York City. Chrysler say the project demonstrates that a market does exist for the recovered plastic and that the recycled plastic can be used to create quality parts at a lower cost while reducing waste to landfills.

The CARE Car II is the second phase of the Chrysler group's CARE (Concepts for Advanced Recycling and Environmental) Car demonstration program, which aims to increase the use of recycled materials in production vehicles.