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Northern France takes the lead in recycled plastics for the automotive industry

08 Jul 2015 | Mobility, Advanced Materials, A region on the move

As consumers become more conscious of the environment, the automotive industry is shifting gears to meet new expectations. Finding ways to incorporate recycled plastics into new cars is a major part of this challenge—and Northern France is in pole position.

recycled plastics for the automotive industry  Lille Region

New consumer expectations

Governments and consumers alike are calling for greener automobiles, a trend that is forcing automakers to rethink business models and incorporate more recycled plastic in their vehicles.

Cars made with more plastic are lighter, more fuel-efficient and less expensive for consumers. Yet while the average car contains 170 kg of plastic, a Renault Clio 4 contains only 26 kg of recycled plastic. That’s about 15% of the total—not nearly enough, even though recycled polymer meets the same quality standards and costs less.

Northern France in the lead

Northern France leads the nation in addressing this challenge. The region recycles more plastics and consumes more recycled materials than anywhere else in France, and it ranks second in automotive and textile production. TEAM², the country’s only competitiveness cluster for recycling, is also located here. With all of these connections to plastics, Northern France is now working to develop cross-sector recycling capabilities.

Building cross-sector foundations

On January 15 TEAM² and GPA, a Paris-based automotive plastics association, held an important meeting in Lille, attracting nearly 200 automakers, equipment manufacturers, fabricators, recyclers, R&D specialists and other representatives of the automotive and plastics sectors. On the agenda: finding the best ways to incorporate recycled plastics in cars. The daylong event spurred brainstorming and discussion, enabling participants to identify key scientific and economic roadblocks. And under TEAM²’s leadership, cross-sector partnerships are already working to overcome them.

Close-up: Galloo Plastics closes the loop

Galloo Plastics, a  belgian innovative SME founded in 1997 and based in Northern France, has revolutionized plastics recycling with an industrial-scale process that reuses scrap from cars, electrical appliances, electronic devices, household waste and other discarded consumer goods. In a series of reliable, accurate sorting steps, Galloo separates incoming plastics by type and then processes these raw materials as necessary. Thorough quality control ensures that the resulting granules are up to specification before they are shipped. The company holds around ten international patents, and the automotive industry is the top consumer of its products.
By using end-of life automotive plastics as input and selling its output back to the automotive industry, Galloo Plastics closes the environmental loop—offering a sustainable model for building recycled plastics into the automaking process. 

Source: TEAM², La Voix du Nord, Galloo Plastics

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