Recycling and recovery
A vehicle’s recyclability is an important product property that must be taken into account as early as the development of the individual parts and components.
In order to work together with customers on improving product recyclability, the relevant information concerning each product is compiled, evaluated, and made available to the customer. In the Automotive Group, for example, this is achieved by means of a recycling passport, which includes component drawings, material data, and dismantling steps for the products. This information processing has made a considerable contribution to improving the recyclability of our products.
Vehicle components that can no longer be used are the result of repair and maintenance in workshops and the stripping down of end-of-life vehicles. The disposal of workshop waste includes the recycling of scrap metal such as brake disks and pads.
In the recycling process for end-of-life vehicles, airbags and high-polluting components are removed. In the next step, recyclable parts are extracted. The wheels are taken apart, and rims and tires are disposed of separately.
The body remains are shredded. The resulting particle mixtures ensure that more than 85 percent of the vehicle weight is recycled.
The cement industry makes a significant contribution to recycling scrap tires, as they can be used in the cement-making process due to their high energy content. The steel and silica contained in the tires are also used as secondary raw materials.
Another option is the utilization of material from shredded tires. The steel and textile components are usually removed and recycled separately during the shredding process. The pure rubber granulate can then be used in the manufacture of panels for protecting buildings (insulation, sealing). As fine-particle granulate, it is also used as an elastic filler material on sports grounds with artificial turf. Even finer material such as rubber powder can be used in road construction, for instance in a noise-absorbing asphalt layer.
The retreading of tires is particularly common in the case of truck tires. After close inspection, suitable tires are given a new tread. In some fields of application, high-quality retreads present a cost-effective alternative to new tires, extending the life of the tire while also conserving resources.
We are also increasingly drawing on recycled materials in our tire manufacturing in order to conserve natural rubber resources while also reducing globe-spanning transportation routes. At ContiLifeCycle plants, we reprocess worn-out truck tires in a retreading process that conserves resources. This uses around 50 percent less energy and as much as 80 percent less water compared to the production of new tires. The rubber powder that is produced during retreading is further processed into recyclate, which is used in the production of new and retreaded tires.