Did you know that in 2010 the global number of cars exceeded 1.015 billion, OECD’s International Transport Forum forecast that the number of cars worldwide would reach 2.5 billion by 2050.
Average life of a car is around 11 years now, this means that during the next 11 years over a billion of cars will reach the end of their life.
In the US alone, between 11 and 13 million vehicles travel to the scrapyard every year. Luckily, the automobile is the most recycled consumer product in the world – 95% of all vehicles are reclaimed. The rate far exceeds the numbers for recycling giants such as newspaper (74 %), aluminum cans (51 %) and glass (22 %). And much of the reclaimed material winds up back in new cars: The typical passenger car consists of about 65% steel and iron, by weight. Also, car bodies typically are made 25 percent of recycled steel. Coffee-stained carpeting becomes air-cleaner assemblies and chewed-up tires morph into brake pedals and floor mats.
The process of recycling a vehicle is extremely complicated as there are many parts (15.000 on average) to be recycled and many hazardous materials to remove.
Just about 80% of a vehicle (by weight) is recycled. The remaining 20% that can’t be recycled is termed as “auto shredder residue (ASR)” which includes ferrous and nonferrous metal pieces, dirt, glass, fabric, paper, wood, rubber and plastic.
Every year, around 5 million tons of ASR is disposed of in landfills. That’s largely because landfill space is still relatively cheap and the technologies to recover and recycle nonferrous material are still expensive.
What if a more proactive approach was taken toward preventing the non-recyclable ARS materials from going to a landfill?
Upcycling is the idea of reusing (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. For example, taking an entire driver’s seat from a car and upcycling it as an office chair extending its life, or using the engine block as a base for a table increasing its value beyond scrap. At the same time consumers are more and more conscious about where their products come from, what materials they are made of and how they are made.
Our sponsor, a research and innovation company, wants to support the growing number of consumers seeking environmentally friendly products and invites you to explore how to create a world with little or no waste by reimagining the value of landfill material. It is not just a nice idea for the distant future, it is a means of improving the environment, public health and even profit margins today.
Imagine new innovative ways to upcycle automotive waste and create a better world.
- #1 Prize €3,500
- #2 Prize €1,500
- #3 Prize €500