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Long-term estimation of plastic material resources from end-of-life vehicles in China: a scenario analysis considering multiple industry standards

Abstract

The recycling and treatment of plastic waste become an increasingly serious environmental degradation challenge. To promote the recycling of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), it is essential to estimate the scale of total plastic materials. This paper mainly contributes to a long-term estimation of overall plastic materials from ELVs in China. It focused on the estimation of the plastic materials from ELVs up to year of 2030, and a scenario analysis considering the recycling rate standard and light-weighting technology was performed. The results show that the total ELVs in 2030 will reach 28.54 million, which is 2.7 times the total in 2020. Under the scenario with a high standard of recycling rate (over 90%) and an exponentially growing share of plastic contents in passenger cars, the total plastic materials may reach 4.88 mt (approximately 35.70–36.56 billion yuan) in 2030. The paper provides important insights to vehicle producers by suggesting deploying more plastic materials, especially the re-use of recycled plastics, in the design and production of new products; as well as to recycling policymakers by suggesting enhancing the regulation of vehicle recycling to ensure the potential supply of all recyclable materials from ELVs including plastics.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express the sincere thanks to the National Natural Science Foundation of China for financing this research with the project “Green Development of Automobile Industry based on Extended Producer Responsibility: International Experience and Chinese strategy” (No. 71804195).

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Correspondence to Li Yang or Ju Yiyi.

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Wu, C., Li, Y., Zhang, Y. et al. Long-term estimation of plastic material resources from end-of-life vehicles in China: a scenario analysis considering multiple industry standards. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 24, 1083–1094 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10163-022-01380-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10163-022-01380-2

Keywords

  • Plastic materials
  • End-of-life vehicles
  • Weibull distribution
  • Scenario analysis