Making Car Parts from Recycled Plastics

Making Car Parts from Recycled Plastics

The United States car manufacturing industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability practices to create vehicle products. General Motors’ recently announced that it has started manufacturing noise-reducing fabric insulation from recycled plastic bottles for its Chevrolet’s Equinox engine.

GM collects and processes water bottles used by employees at its 5 Michigan facilities to create noise-reducing fabric for car engines. These bottles are also being used to produce air filtration components and insulation in jackets for the homeless. Several partners are engaged in this development, and each one of them brings specific capabilities to this initiative.

However, this is not the first time that GM is using recycled content in its cars. It has been using plastic caps and bottles to make air deflectors for its Volt model.

The sound-dampening material in the Buick Verano headliner is constructed out of recycled cardboards. Also, the plastic caps and shipping aids from its different facilities are processed to make radiators shrouds for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra (Caliendo Heather, 2016).

Other Auto Makers That Are Using Recycled Plastics:

The automaker Ford has been using recycled plastics to manufacture upholstery for seat cushions in its several models. For examples, 22 plastic bottles are used to make seat fabric for each Ford Focus.

Honda uses plastics from the scraped bumpers to create mud and splash guards. The sound insulation layers in Nissan cars are made using recycled bottles. The carmaker also uses recycled plastics from bottle caps to manufacture new auto parts.

Toyota has been using recycled plastics in its auto parts as well. The company recently announced that 20% of plastics in its vehicles are derived either from plants (bioplastic) or recycled plastics.

Chrysler uses 64% recycled plastics in the wheel liners of the Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler 200. The seat cushions of Grand Cherokee are made from recycled polyurethane foam plastic. In fact, 40% of the thermoplastics in Chrysler’s European cars are recycled plastics (Plastics Make It Possible, 2014).

Plastic Recycling in India:

Plastic recycling is growing at a rapid rate in India. However, using recycled plastics to manufacture car parts is still to find its foothold. The Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun is working on using waste plastic bags to power car engines (HomeGrown, 2015).

Also, most plastic recycling in India takes place in informal sectors with very little regard to workers’ safety and environmental concern. There should be clear regulations for handling, transporting and destructing of critical plastics to create a market for sustainable recycled plastic. And the day will not be far when everything you see in the car will be made with recycled plastics!



These Plastic Waste Innovations In India Are Creating A Sustainable Future. (2015). Retrieved from 

Automotive Recycling Industry. Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (n.d).

Use of Recycled Plastics in Cars is Shifting into Overdrive. (2014). Retrieved from

GM Is Determined to Improve the Environment by Recycling. (Barnes Matthew, 2016). Retrieved from

GM Recycles Water Bottles to Produce Chevy Equinox Part. (Caliendo Heather, 2016). Retrieved from

General Motors turning recycled water bottles into car parts. (2016). Retrieved from

Tech: Gm Turns Water Bottles into Car Parts and More. (2016). Retrieved from

Turning Bottles into Car Parts. (Miel Rhoda, 2016). Retrieved from

Sustainability Report 2013/14. Ford. (Ford Motor Company, 2014). Retrieved from



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