How Recycling Auto Shredder Residue Benefits the Environment and Economy

Auto Shredder Residue (ASR) presents a growing problem for landfills in the United States and around the world. In recent years, technology and equipment have advanced to more efficiently and safely shred, process, and recycle ASR. 

By employing more efficient methods of handling ASR, more materials are diverted from landfills and reused in ways that benefit both the global environment and the economy. 

What is ASR?

ASR is the result of shredding end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) into small pieces. The ASR, also referred to as “fluff”, consists of many materials, including: 

  • rubber
  • wood
  • sand
  • textiles
  • plastics
  • glass
  • metals 

Processing ASR has become a huge industry. In the U.S. there are over 75 million automobiles that reach their end of life each year. 

By comparison, roughly 15 million ELVs are processed annually in the European Union, amounting to about 3 million tons of fluff. Many countries within the EU have enacted strict guidelines to handle ASR and reduce landfill waste. 

As a result of the large quantities of ELVs and increasing disposal guidelines, the demand for better and more sophisticated recycling and recovery methods continues to grow.

Environmental Benefits of Recycling ASR

With decreasing space for landfills and a shift in society towards greener solutions, researchers, scientists, and engineers have come up with ways to recycle, reuse, and reprocess ASR.

Here are just some of the environmental benefits of recycling ASR:

  1. Reduced space in landfills. Reducing ASR in landfills is beneficial for the local ecosystem because hazardous waste, like lead and cadmium, can leach into the environment when landfilled. It also opens up significantly more space for landfilling actually safe and biodegradable waste, reducing the need to expand landfills.
  2. Materials can be recovered from ASR to use as alternative fuels. For example, petroleum in ASR plastics can be reused in cement kilns which avoids using coal.
  3. Plastics and other recyclable materials in ASR can be recovered and reconstituted into other plastic materials for future use in automobiles.

Economic Benefits of Recycling ASR

Not only is ASR recycling beneficial for the environment, but it’s also helping the economy. Auto shredder fluff benefits the economy in these ways:

  1. Recycling reduces the demand for landfilling, thus reducing the volume of waste. This frees up landfill space and minimizes the need for waste fills in the future.  
  2. While not 100% of ASR can be recycled, some shredder fluff can be used as cost-efficient landfill covering which lessens the need for expensive soil fill.
  3. Aside from the traditional materials that are recovered and sold from shredding ELVs, new technologies allow oils to be recovered from plastics through a process known as pyrolysis. This creates a market for recycled oils that can be used in the production of new products.

The Unique Benefits of the BIVITEC® in Processing & Screening ASR

Aggregates Equipment, Inc. has developed a screening process to make ASR processing and recycling more efficient. The BIVITEC® screen utilizes a flip flow screen to maximize screening performance. Equipped for large screening operations, the BIVITEC® can process even the most difficult materials.

As a leader in material processing equipment, AEI has over 60 years of design, engineering, and manufacturing experience to present best-in-industry equipment. Our screening solutions have made a big impact in reducing waste and maximizing recycling output. Learn more about our innovative and unique vibratory screen process or contact us online to get started with a quote.

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