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Kia Sets Bar for 2015 Vehicle Recycling Regulations

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Jan. 2, 2015—Kia announced recently that it is out ahead of new vehicle recycling standards implemented on the first of the year.

The new regulations require 95 percent of a vehicle to be recyclable when it reaches the end of its useful life. However, according to a Kia release, the company already meets those guidelines due to its techniques developed at the company’s Automobile Resource Regeneration (ARR) centers.

Kia is already meeting the latest EU directive, which requires 85 percent of a scrapped vehicle to be recycled or re-used and a further 10 percent to be used for energy recovery from the combustion of non-recyclable residues.

Metal components such as the car body, engine and gearbox are relatively easy to recycle, as is the battery and exhaust catalyst, but plastics and rubbers present a greater challenge. Now only 5 percent of a scrapped car is sent to landfill or incinerated without energy recovery.

Kia has developed an eight-stage dismantling process at its ARR centers to recoup as many materials as possible for reuse while ensuring the few components that cannot be recycled are disposed of with the minimum environmental impact. Once the car to be scrapped has been registered it is taken into an explosives chamber where its airbags are triggered. The car is then pre-treated for scrappage before all fluids are removed. The exterior, interior and powertrain components are systematically removed in sequence and finally the remnants of the car are crushed in a press.

The ARR centres work on a conveyor system, just like when cars are being made, so that large numbers can be dismantled and recycled in a short time span. These Kia technologies are used to dispose of crash test vehicles internally, however they’re also made available to other firms in the automotive industry to develop end of life vehicle recycling standards and efficiency.

With the Soul EV, Kia has demonstrated how recycled materials can re-appear in new cars. In total, 23 parts—including the sun visors, luggage area side trim, crash-pad skin and the interior paints—are made from biobased materials. This amounts to 10 percent of the car’s interior. Biodegradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV’s interior. As a result, the car has been awarded UL Environment Validation. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a global independent safety science company.

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