European Presidential candidate opened Axion Polymers SWAPP ELV laboratory

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(l.t.r.:) Keith Freegard and Guy Verhofstadt at laboratory opening (Foto: Axion Polymers)

Manchester, UK — New laboratory testing facilities at Axion Polymers’ Manchester-based end-of-life (ELV) vehicle recycling facility have been officially opened by the Liberal candidate for European Commission President and former Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt MEP. Guy Verhofstadt praised Axion’s progress at its advanced multi-million pound Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP), which is already capable of delivering the 2015 EU ELV 95 per cent recycling and recovery target.

This is achieved by producing recycled plastics, including Axpoly r-PP51 that goes back into new automotive components. Other materials recycled at the plant include aggregates for the construction industry and high calorific solid recovered fuel. Axion Polymers also offers testing services for external clients for polymers and waste derived materials in its laboratories at both its Salford and Trafford Park sites.

“It’s great innovation. This plant is the future and we will need more like them as we move to a Circular Economy. We should encourage the automotive industry to make more use of recycled materials that are produced here,” said Guy Verhofstadt, who is leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

To encourage more engagement

Commenting on the visit, Axion Director Keith Freegard said: “While it was very rewarding to see that someone so senior in European Government has taken an interest in the new green economy that we’re creating here in Manchester, it was also the perfect opportunity to highlight the need for economic or legislative drivers that encourage more engagement from automotive manufacturers with the products that are now becoming available from end-of-life treatment.”

Keith suggested the rate of transition to a truly circular economy will be much accelerated by some strong, positive economic drivers – ‘big carrots rather than big sticks’ – that reward those car manufacturers who use materials that have been recycled from their own end-of-life products.

Legislation as a ‚big carrot‘  

He continued: “At the moment in the UK there is a lack of any positive driver to make that happen. What we need now in the next phase of moving towards a Circular Economy is legislation as a ‚big carrot‘  – some fiscal benefit to car manufacturers who can demonstrate the conversion of significant quantities of fully traceable recycled polymers from the automotive treatment plants back into new vehicle components.

“I think that enabling good quality recycled products to break into the automotive sector and a rethink in the design of new components for cars really needs some Governmental intervention to create the pump-priming effect to start it happening.”

He added: “Vehicle manufacturers need some rewards for taking the brave steps to select and use these new circular flow materials. It was great to get Mr Verhofstadt thinking about what would be the correct type of ‘big carrot’ that could be implemented across Europe to generate that necessary new driver in the economy.”

Annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes

The European End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive aims to reduce the amount of waste produced from vehicles when they are scrapped. Under the ELV Directive, producers of vehicles are responsible for achieving certain recycling targets as well as environmental standards for the storage and treatment of ELVs. Since 2006, the UK and all other EU member states have been expected to reach a national recycling, reuse and recovery target of 85 per cent, rising to 95 per cent in January 2015, just nine months away.

Operated jointly with S Norton, one of the UK’s leading ferrous and non-ferrous metal recyclers, Axion’s plant, one of the most advanced of its type in Europe, has an annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes separating the non-metallic fractions (ASR or shredder ‘fluff’) from the equivalent of about 800,000 cars a year.

Source: Axion Polymers