How Manufacturers are Using Sustainable Car Plastic Materials

car plastic

Commitment to sustainability leads to profit. Companies that plan with climate change in mind secure bigger returns on investment than those that hide from the problem.

Vehicle manufacturers can make big commitments to sustainability with car plastic. Plastic manufacturers work hard to reduce environmental damage caused by the injection-molded plastic used in cars.

Plastic options have gotten more diverse and complex over time. Even experienced executives don’t know everything that’s available.

Want to make a sustainable change in your manufacturing process? Don’t know what’s out there? Keep reading for more on sustainability in automotive plastics.

Where Does Car Plastic Come From?

Car manufacturers get their recycled plastic from many sources. Two of the most common, however, include water bottles and disposable maritime plastics.

Water Bottles

Some manufacturers have started using recycled bottles for some or all of their plastic parts. Given that more than a billion plastic bottles get used each day, car manufacturers will never face a shortage of these materials.

Sea Plastic

Injection-molded plastics have become more common in cars. Some of the recycled plastic used in these parts comes from an unexpected source: the sea.

Plastic fishing nets litter the ocean and cause severe ecological damage. Manufacturers receive these nets from fishermen and turn them into recyclable plastic that meets the same toughness and safety standards as new petroleum plastics.

This plastic then gets fed into an injection molder and used to create clips and other parts.

Where Are Recycled Plastics Common?

The most common places you’ll find recycled plastics in modern cars are the seats. Both recycled plastics and bioplastics make great seat fillers. This use of recycled plastic doesn’t need much strength, so the common drawbacks don’t apply.

As recycled plastics get stronger, though, they show up in more places. Recent vehicles have put them in wheel wells and dashboard consoles. These places do need some durability, but not as much as the body of the car.

A lot of the recycled plastic in a car shows up in small parts. Clips, seatbelt receptacles, and knobs make great candidates for custom plastic molding with recycled plastic.

What’s Holding Plastic Back?

With these leaps forward in plastic use, some wonder why recycled plastic hasn’t become the standard. Limits to the current recycling practices keep manufacturers from using recycled plastic for everything.

Recycled plastics often end up a little weaker than their first-time cousins. While plastic manufacturers have improved the process, most recycling involves finding uses that require less strength.

Plastic recyclers have started closing the durability gap, though. New processes create plastics that keep the strengths of plastic without getting weaker.

Plastic’s Promises

Whether you need seat filler, a console, or a seatbelt receptacle, you can use recycled car plastic to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your bottom line. Major car manufacturers have made a commitment to sustainability.

If you want to make that kind of commitment, let us know. We take on projects of any size and deliver on time and within the budget. Reach out to us and request a quote!

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