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Queen Mary University of LondonQueen Mary University of London
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School of Engineering and Materials Science
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PhD Thesis: The Issue of Recycling from a Vehicle Manufacturer’s Perspective

Author: CERATO, Valentina

Year: 2008

Supervisor(s): Paul Hogg, Ton Peijs

This study applies lessons learned from non-metallic materials recycling to the great challenge that end of life tyres pose. It proposes a strategy based on increased knowledge of the available recycling technologies for rubber, better communication and networking amongst the economic operators involved and ultimately on competition to solve the problem. Having described the current state of the art of the recycling industry, the recent legislative push, the tyre manufacturers’ commercial environment and the approach of the automotive industry to all of the above, the study moves on to the practical aspects of the strategy and how it is applied. The cooperation and work obtained by the current tyre suppliers ensures a positive outcome and the project ultimate goal of increasing the recyclability and the use of recycled content in Ford Motor Company’s vehicles is achieved. Encouraging results are obtained in a number of different projects all based on the use of end of life tyres as one of the feedstock materials for the production of automotive components, but the tyre project goes a step further in closing the loop, by re-introducing the material in the same component it came from. The tyre recycling strategy applied by Ford Motor Company is still in its infancy and having already obtained such positive results, it leaves the door open for an array of new studies leading to the introduction of more recycled content in automotive components including standard tyres. The development of standards for the recycled materials derived from old tyres could increase their demand across the rubber components industry. The continuous dialogue with the tyre suppliers and the recyclers will ensure that the automotive industry has the choice of selecting recycled content for its components. The monitoring and investigating of new and emerging recycling technologies could guarantee future advances in this challenging field.

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