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Plastics recycler collects used bumper covers from body shops and repurposes materials

Company states that the program offers a strong value to the shops including cost avoidance and industry integrity

Portland, Pa.—Ultra-Poly, one of America’s largest plastics recyclers, has announced a first-of-its-kind bumper recycling program, that involves the collection and reprocessing of damaged automotive bumpers into a new raw material.

Ultra-Poly collaborated with Tier 1 automotive supplier Autoneum North America, Inc. to develop a product that uses the recycled bumper material as a rigid backing substrate for a fibrous layer creating a composite used in vibration and noise attenuation in a chassis component. The material is listed in the International Material Data System (IMDS).

As a member of the PLASTICS Industry Association, the company was one of several who worked on the End of Life Vehicle (ELV) project, which sought to determine if the fascia material could be recovered for use back into new fascia. This was ultimately deemed not viable, primarily due to surface finish issues. However, Ultra-Poly saw the potential of the material in other polypropylene compounds as well as non-appearance applications in automotive and in other industrial markets.

Ultra-Poly collects the used bumper covers directly from auto body shops where they have been removed from vehicles and stripped of any usable connected components. The company stated that the program offers a strong value to the shops, including:

  • Cost Avoidance — removes these large, bulky items from their waste roll-offs reducing the pull-frequency.
  • Industry Integrity — the used fascia are completely destroyed in the process and cannot be repaired and make their way back into the supply stream which presents significant quality issues.

The resultant material offers strong value to converters and brand owners as well, including:

  • Consistent high-quality material with a balance of stiffness and toughness
  • Certified 100% post-consumer content

“This is a groundbreaking program that will help advance the automotive industry closer to achieving the standards of a circular economy,” said Kevin Cronin, Vice President of Sustainability and R&D.

Dan Moler, Autoneum North America Vice President of Product Development and Engineering, added, “With the increasing challenge of OEMs to require more and more recycled content, this product delivers on that challenge, enabling us to become more sustainable as a company by reducing our carbon footprint and engineering a product from the ground up with end of life recycling in mind to ultimately reach the end goal of a circular economy. Everyone benefits — body shops, recyclers, automotive part manufacturers, OEMs, and most importantly, the environment.”

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