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Car-makers must reduce scrap from cars

Car manufacturers must do more to recycle cars for car-making to remain a sustainable proposition, according to a new report.

The study by Oxford Brookes University calls for new technologies, design approaches and better infrastructures to ensure cars generate less unusable waste.

The warning comes on the back of research which predicts that more cars will be built in the next 25 years than in the entire history of car-making to date – 1.48 billion by 2030 – thanks to a huge increase in demand from emerging economies.

That demand will see a massive increase in the amount of scrap generated by the industry, put at 3.5bn tonnes between now and 2030 – enough to fill Wembley Stadium more than 1,000 times.

Presently around 75% of material is recovered from scrapped cars, but plastics, rubber and glass are sent to landfill sites. By 2015 95% of all material used in cars must be recycled, according to EU legislation.

The report has been issues by DRIVENet – the UK Network for the design for dismantling, reuse and recycling in road vehicles, which is led by Oxford Brookes university.

Prof Allan Hutchinson, who co-authored the report – said: “How to dispose of vehicles more effectively may not be the most glamorous part of the motor industry, but it may well ultimately be the most important for a sustainable one.

“We believe this work can provide the basis for the extensive research necessary to develop new technologies together with the automotive industry to ensure its obligations can be met in a timely manner.”