Re-use and Re-cycling of Automobile Plastics – A step to

Re-use and Re-cycling of Automobile Plastics – A step to
Re-use and Re-cycling of Automobile Plastics – A step to
manage plastic waste in Ghana.
ARCADA UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES
PATRICIA NYAMEKYE
DEGREE THESIS
PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY
2012
DEGREE THESIS
Arcada
Degree Programme:
Identification number:
Author:
Title:
Supervisor (Arcada):
Plastics Technology
Patricia Nyamekye
Re-use and re-cycling of automobile plastics – a step to
manage plastic waste in Ghana.
Mariann Holmberg
Commissioned by:
Abstract:
The main aims of this thesis were to identify the disposal and management of cars plastics part
after use, find out the effect plastic waste brings to the Ghanaian environment and to identify
mesures of improving plastics waste management in the automotive sector, (end-of-life vehicle
in accordance with European union deritives). Analysis the benefits of re-using or recycling of
plastic waste in Ghana. This thesis done with a qualitative analysis by interviews and
observations and was found that, most old plastics parts are usually re-used and that there were
very little to do with recycling as Ghana did not have manufacturing car company plants. The
plastics which are out of use and are beyond repairs are dumped at landfills. The thesis talks also
of end of life vehicles legislation in the European Union and tried to find better ways of
improving the waste in accordance with the EU directives. The internet has been main source for
this thesis as most of the issues are global. The conclusion shows that, Ghana could solve plastic
waste from automobiles if government bodies, companies and individuals adapt to change. As the
main problem was found to be the attitude of the people and lack of education.
Keywords:
re-cycle, re-use, automobiles, plastics, end of life vehicle,
Number of pages:
Language:
Date of acceptance:
70
English
2
Contents
1
2
Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 7
1.1
Aims and Objectives ....................................................................................... 7
1.2
Scope of Studies ............................................................................................. 7
1.3
Literature Sources. .......................................................................................... 7
1.4
Limitation of the Study ................................................................................... 8
1.5
Description and situation plastic waste of area ................................................ 8
Literature Review .................................................................................................................. 10
2.1
The history and growth trend of automobile plastics ..................................... 11
2.1.1
Materials compositon ............................................................................. 12
2.1.2
Automobile polymers / plastics .............................................................. 15
2.1.3
Importance of plastics in cars ................................................................. 16
2.1.4
Interior and Exterior applications of plastics in cars ............................... 18
2.2
Engineering plastics applicable in automobiles.............................................. 21
2.2.1
Polycarbonate PC .................................................................................. 22
2.2.2
Polyurethanes, PUR ............................................................................... 22
2.2.3
High densityPolyethylene,(HD-PE) ....................................................... 23
2.2.4
Polypropylene, PP ................................................................................ 24
2.2.5
Polyamide, PA ....................................................................................... 25
2.2.6
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, ABS ..................................................... 26
2.2.7
Polymethyl methacrylate, PMMA .......................................................... 28
2.2.8
Polyphenylene oxides, PPO ................................................................... 29
2.2.9
Polybutylene terephthalate ..................................................................... 29
2.2.10
PVC Polyvinyl chloride,PVC ................................................................. 30
2.2.11
Composites ............................................................................................ 31
2.3
Methods of plastic waste management .......................................................... 31
2.3.1
i.
Sources of plastics waste........................................................................ 32
Industrial waste ............................................................................................. 32
3
ii.
Commercial waste......................................................................................... 36
iii.
Municipal waste ........................................................................................ 37
2.3.2
a.
Manual sorting: ............................................................................................. 39
b.
Density based: .............................................................................................. 40
c.
Selective dissolution: .................................................................................... 40
2.3.3
Plastic Waste Recycling Processes ......................................................... 41
a.
Mechanical Recycling ................................................................................... 42
b.
Feedstock or Chemical Recycling ................................................................. 42
c.
Energy Recovery .......................................................................................... 43
2.4
3
Identifying and sorting plastics .............................................................. 38
End of life vehicles (ELVs) ........................................................................... 43
2.4.1
History of End of Life Vehicle ............................................................... 43
2.4.2
Principles and philosophy ELVs ............................................................ 44
2.4.3
End-of-Life Issues ................................................................................. 47
2.4.4
End-of-Life Vehicle Recycling in European Union(EU) ........................ 47
2.4.5
Present ELV Reprocessing in the EU ..................................................... 48
2.4.6
Expectations for ELV Recycling ............................................................ 49
2.4.7
End of life vehicles in Finland ............................................................... 50
Methodology.......................................................................................................................... 51
3.1
Obsservation ................................................................................................. 51
3.2
Interview ...................................................................................................... 53
3.2.1
The selection criteria .............................................................................. 53
3.2.2
The process ............................................................................................ 53
4
Results and Interpretation of interview and observation ......................................................... 54
5
Dicussion ............................................................................................................................... 60
6
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................. 62
6.1
Recommendations ......................................................................................... 66
6.1.1
On the national level: ............................................................................. 66
6.1.2
The assembly level: ............................................................................... 66
6.1.3
The car dealers: ...................................................................................... 67
6.1.4
Individual level: ..................................................................................... 67
4
7
Refferences ............................................................................................................................ 68
Figure 1: Maps of (a) Ghana and (b) Kumasi showing the location of Suame –
Magazine, light-industrial area in Ghana. [40][41]
9
Figure 2: Material content of automobiles in 1998. [5] ............................................... 13
Figure 3: A representation of common plastics parts in cars. ...................................... 14
Figure 4: a front bumper. [8] ....................................................................................... 18
Figure 5: A door panel and seat of PUR foam, [9] ...................................................... 19
Figure 6: an ABS mirror housing and wheel rim, [9] ................................................... 19
Figure 7: A carbon fiber reinforced PA manifold, [10] ............................................... 20
Figure 8: PE wash water tank and lid, [11] .................................................................. 20
Figure 9: PP+talc air ducts, [9] .................................................................................... 20
Figure 10: A representation of Polycarbonate structure. .............................................. 22
Figure 11: A representation of PUR structure ............................................................. 23
Figure 12: a representation of PE chains. ..................................................................... 23
Figure 13: an actatic and isotactic representation of PP, Tripathi,D.[17] ...................... 25
Figure 14: hexamethylene diamine adipic acid, Singh Jagdamba [18] ........................ 26
Figure 15: A view of acrylonitrile and styrene monomers respectively, [19]. ............... 27
Figure 16: A view of butadiene rubber monomer, [20] ................................................ 27
Figure 17: representation of ABS arrangement giving it unique properties. Strong, A. B.
[21] ............................................................................................................................. 28
Figure 18: A representation of PMMA structure. The cyclic in this structure give its
transparency. ............................................................................................................... 28
Figure 19: structure of PPO, [24] ................................................................................ 29
Figure 20: A PBT structure. ........................................................................................ 30
Figure 21: PVC structure, [25] .................................................................................... 30
Figure 22: plastic computers and mobile phones cases, [26] ........................................ 32
Figure 23: plastics cable waste and end of life televisions collected as waste. [27] ..... 32
Figure 24: An example of airplane waste, [28] ............................................................ 33
Figure 25: A British ship under demolishment as after its useful life. ......................... 33
Figure 26: End of life vehicle battery .......................................................................... 34
Figure 27: A systematic flow of plastic battery recycling, [29] ................................... 35
5
Figure 28: illustration of scrap car parts ..................................................................... 36
Figure 29: A collection of mixed and hospital plastic waste ........................................ 37
Figure 30: A picture of collected plastic bottle waste on the large scale municipal level
................................................................................................................................... 37
Figure 31: Plastic coding system for easy identification, [30] ...................................... 39
Figure 32: Manual sorting of mixed trash. [ 31]........................................................... 40
Figure 33: Major steps for ELV Recycling According to the E.U. Directive, [36]........ 45
Figure 34: dismantled car into single units,[37] ........................................................... 46
Figure 35: a picture of a spare parts shop, showing some plastic parts. ........................ 52
Figure 36: Scence from an automoble workshop in Mazagine ..................................... 52
Figure 37: Area respondents represented. ................................................................... 54
Figure 38: Reponses to the need to manage automobile plastic waste .......................... 55
Figure 39: Possible suggestions given for managing plastic waste ............................... 55
Figure 40: Possible answers for better ways for gathering plastic waste in automobiles
................................................................................................................................... 56
Figure 41: Williness off people toward plastic automobile waste management. ........... 57
Figure 42: Representations of recycled and re-used automobile metal and tyres waste. 58
Figure 43: HDPE bags used for carrying bags and slippers (re-use). ............................ 64
List of tables
Table 1: Summary of average part weight of automobile plastic. Association of plastics
manufacturing in Europe. [6] ...................................................................................... 15
Table 2: Comparison of major automobiles materials densities. [7] ........................... 16
Table 3: A list of engineering plastics in automobile industry, [13][14] ....................... 21
Table 4: EU utilization requirement in 2006, [32] ....................................................... 41
6
1 Introduction
The use of plastics has seen a tremendous increment from domestic household through
agricultural to industrial application; one industrial application is in the automobile
industry. The advancement seen in technology in the world today can be attributed to
the evolution of plastics which has made most of these possible. Examples of such are
credits cards, computers, modern range of television, compact disc not forgetting the
countless contributions in the health sector like implants, capsules, dissolvable bags to
wash infected and dirty clothes, respiratory machines and accessories.. There have been
many concerns raised about the danger plastics imposed on our community from
domestic, commercial and industry sectors.
1.1 Aims and Objectives
The main objectives of this thesis are to:
a) Identify the disposal and management of car plastics part after use.
b) Find out the effect plastic waste brings to the Ghanaian environment.
c) Identify mesures of improving plastics waste management in the automotive
sector, (end-of-life vehicle in accordance with European union deritives).
d) Analysis the benefits of re-using or recycling of plastic waste in Ghana.
1.2 Scope of Studies
This thesis is to help identify better ways of controlling the waste generated in Ghana.
As stated in the objectives, it is to concentrate only on plastic waste in automobiles. The
studies is to be limited to main plastic parts of an average car.These parts includes
batteries casing, dashbord, seat cushion,bumper, head lamps and wash-liquid tank and a
mention is made of other parts chapter 2.
1.3 Literature Sources.
The main source of information has being the internet. Information were either collected
from journals, technical reports on international research thesis on plastic waste
recycling, pilot projects, press releases on recycling and findings of research centers.
7
1.4 Limitation of the Study
The major drawback to this thesis was non-availability of funds for the writer to spend
ample time in Ghana. However, the writer was able to dedicate some hours during her
practical training period to gather useful information though little on this thesis. In spite
of visiting car shops and the Driver and Vehicle Licenses Authority (DVLA), there was
not much information given as the DVLA needed much time to attend to the writer’s
request. The recycling of plastics is at the very beginning stage on the Ghanaian market
thus not much information could be obtained and the few gathered could not be
compared to any historical ideas, so it was basically the European standard used as the
writer lived in Europe. Few points are also drawn from the Finnish car recycling
system. The magazine association of Ghana has being the only informal group for car
fitters and spare parts dealers and have operated not with any well documented
information, thus most of the gathered information could not be well ascertained since
they were given verbally by shop attendants. Plastic bags have been the major
contributor of plastics waste and they are on high re-use and re-cycling scale.
1.5 Description and situation plastic waste of area
Ghana with a population of 24,223,431, is in the west of Africa. The main sources of
plastic waste in Ghana include the following; food and beverages, furniture, automobile,
agriculture, health; This thesis will be concentrated on Suame Magazine in Kumasi,
Ashanti Region of Ghana, as the subject of automobile waste cannot be studied without
taking Suame Magazine into account. Magazine is one of Africa’s largest lightindustrial areas and it forms the largest automobile land for Ghana. The area is filled
with polluted industrial waste and noisy, auto-mechanical workshops; it also serves as
resident for people.
8
Figure 1 shows maps Ghana, (pink area) and Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana
with the green color showing the area of study.
Figure 1: Maps of (a) Ghana and (b) Kumasi showing the location of Suame – Magazine, light-industrial area in
Ghana. [40][41]
9
2 Literature Review
The introductions of plastics to replace the traditional materials in the vehicle industry
do not only reduce product cost but also reduce production cost. Waste management has
in recent years raised lots of concerns both in develop and developing countries and
Ghana is of no exception. The European Union for example has in this view set up some
laws to control waste generated in end of life vehicles (ELVs), and this thesis explains
and outline few ideas about ELVs.
The introduction of plastics and composite materials into the vehicle industry has its
own merits and demerits. In the 1950S plastics used to be useful in the automobile
sector only in the applications of seats, mirror cases and some other internal
components of the automobiles in the 1950s, whereas about 260 pounds (118
kilograms) of plastics can be found in automobiles currently according to the
Transportation Energy Data Book, 2005. With increased applications from chassis to
roof and from head lamp to rear lamp. In a quest to overcome the adverse problems
associated with its use in automobiles, many concerns have been raised with the
paramount ones being about the high cost due to manufacturing and part cost as well as
harmful emissions like carbon dioxide (CO2) from petrol combustion. The introduction
of electric cars or hybrid cars is one way to help overcome such problems but Ghana as
a developing country has not yet been able to over electricity crisis and will not be able
to embrace such noble invention open handedly. The replacement even if fully adopted
in developed countries will not be able to erase the use of tons of oil used in the
manufacturing of car plastic parts such as bumpers, engine components, seats,
dashboards, head lamps, trims, and windshield. Studies have shown that plastics
improve fuel economy by reducing weight, but they also require petroleum as a raw
ingredient. Aafko Schanssema from PlasticsEurope defines Plastics as solidified oil.
He also maintained that the high oil prices and strict CO 2 standards will accelerate the
growth in plastic use. It is believed that these plastic may be recycled back into fuel in
the near future. The average car is a mix of materials: steel body frame, glass windows,
rubber tyres, lead batteries, copper wires, as well as traces of zinc, magnesium, tin,
platinum and cobalt. The solution found rather seems to be posing more environmental
10
harm than good as the major problem facing manufacturers, engineers, government
bodies as well as other stake holders is the waste generated by these plastic car parts
after their end of use seem to be uncontrollable. An average car is estimated to function
at least 12-13 years before it comes to end of use. Paul Nieuwenhuis [1]
2.1 The history and growth trend of automobile plastics
The discovering and development of plastics can be seen as one of the most industrial
achievement in the twentieth century. They have over the past fifty (50) to sixty (60)
years gained attention in almost every aspect of daily life. Plastics seem not fully
discovered as there is always new discovering in its properties and applications.
The invention of plastic composite is an example of such discovering which has made
plastics more functional in the engineering field by the combination of two or more
plastics. The success is based on their properties of resilience, good thermal properties,
resistance to moisture, chemicals, stability, anti-corrosive, photo- and biodegradation
low production and processing cost, manufacturing flexibility because they can be
molded into different shapes.
The first semi synthetic plastic involved the modification of cellulose fibers with nitric
acid in the 1950’s.Cellulose nitrate, occurred in the late 1850s and Cellulose nitrate had
many false starts following its invention by a Briton, Alexander Parkes, who exhibited it
at the world’s first plastics in 1862. [2]
The world’s first plastics were produced at the turn of the twentieth century, and were
based mainly on natural raw materials. Henry Ford is seen in records to be the first to
patent plastic automobiles in the year 1942. The plastic car Ford patented used soybased plastics and was 25% to 33% lighter than conventional cars of his day. Ford's
vision was to create marketing opportunities for farmer to sell their produce.
Automobiles experts have predicted that the use of plastics will by 2020 be recognize as
preferred material solution that will meet and set, automotive performance and
sustainability requirements. [3]
11
2.1.1 Materials compositon
The composition of the car has changed considerably in recent years. The major reason
for this is due to the fact that the concentration of ferrous metals has declined
considerably as vehicle producers have opted for lighter and fuel efficient materials
such as aluminum and engineering plastic in designing new vehicles. The amount of
energy used in producing metals is very high as compared to that used in manufacturing
of plastics. Aside the reduction in processing energy; we can also recover energy and
material during recycling which will add value than seen as garbage.
As stated, the percentage of plastics used in vehicle production has risen considerably
in recent years. Roughly, 11% of cars today are made up of plastics. This change
occurred for reasons which include the fact that they are both impact and corrosion
resistant, as well as low weight and low cost. One of the most defining features of the
use of plastics in vehicle production involves the fact that it is cost efficient on fuel and
energy sources. However, for domestic cars, the percentage of weight in steel and iron
has dropped from 75 percent in 1977 to 63 percent in 2004, according to the
Department of Energy's Transportation Energy Data Book. Some of the steel has been
replaced by lightweight aluminum, whose percentage has grown from 2.6 percent in
1977 to 8.6 percent in 2004. Plastic has seen a similar rise in mass, going from 4.6 to
7.6 percent over the same 27-year period.
Metals such as steel, aluminum and metal alloys were the raw materials for the
manufacturing of cars many years ago, but to overcome the release of CO 2 by reducing
vehicles weight with the intension of cutting down the amount of fuel consumption.
Ralf Zimnol laxness hopes that, CO2 emission will be able to be reduced to about 13g
for every 100kg saved if vehicle weights could be reduced. Mapleston [4]. Steel remain
the single most important material in automobiles because of its toughness, durability
and malleability, steel still remain very heavy, and for this reason manufacturers have
been trimming down its use. PlasticsEurope studies showed that every pound of plastic
in a car replaces roughly 0.7kg of traditional materials. Based on this weight reduction,
the same studies calculated that plastics provide a fuel savings of about 3.8 percent.
However, cars haven't improved their gas mileage by that much.
12
The weights of old cars have been greatly reduced with the replacement of traditional
metals with lighter density metals or completely with plastic or other composite
materials. An example of this is the replacement of cast iron (7.7Mgm) engine block
with aluminum (2.7Mgm) or magnesium (1.8Mgm).This shows already about 4.9Mmg
weight reduction. This may only be one of the few parts of automobiles that cannot be
replaced with plastics. Plastics help to achieve the greatest weight saving with the body
panels which form about 60% of the total weight of a car.
Graph 1 shows the average breakdown of materials found in cars in 1998. This year was
used for this thesis since most of the cars coming to their end were manufactured around
90’s.
Material content of automobiles
9%
3%
3%
2%
2%
Ferrous and non- metals
plastics
2%
glass
1%
1%
tires
fluids
rubber
others
electrical parts
Battery
77 %
Figure 2: Material content of automobiles in 1998. [5]
13
Graph 2 below is a representation of plastics parts in an average car.
An average distribution of plastics in car
Battery, PP
fuel tank, HDPE
1%
8%
seat curshion, PUR
10 %
other eg. Electrical
switches and fuses,
trims
44 %
Dasboards(composit
e of material)
14 %
bumpers and side
moldings, PP
23 %
Figure 3: A representation of common plastics parts in cars.
The processing temperatures and weights of these plastics are shown in table. An
example is with the glass fiber added to then PA for the application of inlet manifold to
increase properties.
14
Table 1: Summary of average part weight of automobile plastic. Association of plastics
manufacturing in Europe. [6]
Part
Polymer
Maximum continuous
use temperature oC
Weight
kg/part
bumper
polypropylene, PP
100
3,14
dashboard
Urethane,
seat cushion
polyurethanes, PUR
mirror housing
acrylonitrile buta-
1,20
70
0,27
diene styrene ABS
head lamp lens
polycarbonate (PC)
115
0,30
intake manifold
polyamide (PA)
80
0,72
wash tank & lid
polyethylene (PE)
50-55
0,43
2.1.2 Automobile polymers / plastics
Cars were entirely made of metals during the early ages of its development. Increment
in oil during the 70’s gave birth to the introduction of composite of automobile material.
As engineers of that time sought for light weight cars with plastics. The Society looked
for a better and efficient car in terms of reduction in mileage gallon of gas. According
to Scribd Inc Plastic provides an average weight savings of 400 pounds, with 15 million
cars manufactured each year, this translates to energy savings of about 5.25 million
gallons of gas per year and about 10.5 billion pounds less CO2 in air. (Scribd, 2011).
Many thought of making cars entirely of plastics; but the cost of production at that time
due to lack of technical knowhow and equipments did not make it a reality. However, a
compromise was reached to make cars of different characteristics of material, hence the
composites of cars. Reductions in gas mileage helps to not only manage natural
resources such as gasoline, but also reduction in release of emission into the
atmosphere. Plastic has become more competent in automobiles both internally and
externally. Applications of such are electrical insulators, fuel tanks, engine
compartment, chassis and power train.
15
The bumper is known to be the first plastic in automobiles and until present, bumpers
still are made of plastics such as polypropylene (PP), polyesters (PS), thermoplastic
olefins (TPO), or blends of these compounds reinforced with glass fibers. The bumper is
one of the parts of automobiles that have seen a weight reduction of about 1.3kg
eliminating about 13 metal parts. The horse power of vehicles is also increased by 33%
with 2.3kg of engine manifold reduction.
The densities of main materials in an average car are given in the table 2. The values
clearly explain why plastics have gained increase application in automobiles. Their low
density values means that they are relatively light.
Table 2: Comparison of major automobiles materials densities. [7]
Material
Density kg/m3
steel
7800
aluminum
2800
wood(pine)
550
polyamide(PA6)
1130
polycarbonate
1200
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene ABS
1070
polypropylene PP
905
2.1.3 Importance of plastics in cars
Problems facing car manufacturers have been under some control since the introduction
of light weight plastics in the automotive industry. Some of these problems have been in
line with pricing, performance, safety, minimal environmental impact coupled with
style and comfort.
The use of plastics in automobiles does not only reduce gasoline usage but also relief
engineers from design limitations metals impose. One of such is the aerodynamic shape
of modern cars due to flexibility in plastic shaping. Engine components are hotter than
16
before due to this styling and this reduced space between parts, higher engine ratings
and emission technology.(Mapleston)[4]
The constant exposure of both internal and external components of automobiles
demands protection of some sort against corrosion caused by mud, salts, harmful
chemicals as well as gravel, in order to increase the life span of vehicle some polymers
are used to coat metal faces. Paints of polymers are used on some metal surfaces for this
reason. An example of this is the application of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) in
gas tank as it is inert to corrosion and gives better anti corrosion effect than zinc coated
products. Apart from all these, production and processing cost are relatively cheap
compared to traditional materials. Energy consumption during processing is very
economic as compared to that used in processing metals.
To every merit there is demerit and plastics for sure have their own demerits. Plastic as
an engineering material must show its recyclability aside advantages of lighter and cost
effectiveness. Thus automotive designers must not only meet customers’ design, styling,
cost and weight reduction and regulatory needs but also must prove to be able to sustain
the environment. “Recycling” as being associated with the word” plastics” due to many
concerns and education that has been going on with these two. The greatest problem
posing greatest challenge to all plastics industries is recyclability and the car industry is
not left out. Some of the major problems that oppose plastics application in automobiles
include;
a.
Insufficient technology for dismantlers to use to collect various plastics
separately as plastics are usually collected and recycled with same kind and
types.
b.
Material wastage of raw materials during processing. example molding complex
parts like the fuel tank.
c.
Lack of plastic recycling infrastructure.
d.
Loose of value of recycled plastics compared to newer plastics.
e.
Expensive cost of recycling plastics with the few recycling possibilities.
Most of the above mentioned setbacks are however addressed in the EU directives on
ELVs as shown later in this thesis.
17
2.1.4
Interior and Exterior applications of plastics in cars
Plastics used in cars can be given by percentage wise. Some parts of automobiles have
seen much plastic usage than others. Few of these applications in the car industry
includes bumpers, air intake systems, seat cushions, dash board, door panels, oil
provisions, exhaust, valve covers, batteries cases, light housings, trims, seat belts, seat
backs, engine torque rod air tubes, electrical cables and many more. The comfort and
securities in automobiles are made better due to plastics. CD players, global positioning
systems (GPS) and air bags are all examples of such.
The automobile parts listed in table 1 and graph 2 with other plastic parts is shown in
the figures 1-6 below.
The bumper: seems to be the first identified part of a car and in reality is the first parts
of vehicles in any head on collision. There are front and rear bumpers. They also protect
both the front and back sides of a car against mud, corrosive fluids. Figure 1 below
shows a front bumper.
Figure 4: a front bumper. [8]
Upholstery: Urethanes foam as said earlier best suit in auto upholstery cushioning. The
ability to recycle, meet economic demands set forth by manufactures as well as
flexibility makes them perfect choice. One application of recycled PUR foams carpets
domestic and office use. PUR are used for seats and door panels. Figure 2 below shows
a PUR door panel and seat.
18
Figure 5: A door panel and seat of PUR foam, [9]
Trims: The term trim is used to comprise mirror cases, wheels covers, door handles and
radiator grilles. These parts in automobiles are largely made of plastics to increase usage
and styling of car’s exteriors. Plastics such as PVC, PP,PC, PUR and PS are often used.
The images in figure 3 are examples of such.
Figure 6:
an ABS mirror housing and wheel rim, [9]
19
intake manifold: Figure 4 below is an example of PA intake manifold of the engine.
The second image is a carbon fiber reinforced manifold.
Figure 7:
A carbon fiber reinforced PA manifold, [10]
Wash lid and tank:
Figure 8:
PE wash water tank and lid, [11]
Air duct and consoles: helps in supplying same amount as air or heat to rear
passengers as that of front passengers. Plastics provide best flexibility in manufacturing
despite its complicated shape.
Figure 9:
PP+talc air ducts, [9]
20
The transmission and differential: for the two sets of power trains gears that transfer
power to the drive wheels which consists of systems of bearings, shafts and gears. The
application of plastics in this section has reduced the number of parts needed in effect
reducing weight resulting in lower assembling cost while increasing fuel efficiency. Its
complexity in manufacturing is reduced to great extent.
2.2 Engineering plastics applicable in automobiles.
There are many types of plastics use in the automobile industry. However, a mention of
few major plastics are mentioned and discussed below.
The table 3 below shows a list of various plastics that have gained grounds in the
automobile industry with applications. A comprehensive descriptions and properties are
further given in this chapter.
Table 3: A list of engineering plastics in automobile industry, [13][14]
Chemical name
Polycarbonate
Abbreviation
PC
Application
bumper panels, radiator grilles
Polyurethanes
PUR
Arm rest, seat cushion,
Polyethylene (High and low)
PE (HD,LD)
bumper
Polypropylene
PP
Bumpers, battery case
Polyamide
PA
wheel covers, fuel tanks and filler
flap, in fold manifold
Thermoplastic Poly urethane(
Reinforced)
Polyphenylene oxides
TPU,RTPU
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
copolymers
Styrene acrylonitrile
ABS
Polyurethane
PU
Thermoplastic polyolefins
TPE,TPO
Bumpers, dashboard
Polybutylene terephthalate
PBT
plug connectors
Polymethyl Methacrylate
PMMA
window visor, taillights headlights
Polyvinyl chloride
PVC
PPO
SAN
21
body parts e.g. hatchbacks and
mudguard
mirror housing, wheel covers, front
and rear spoilers
radiator grilles
Plastics used in this industry are either reinforced or are used as composites of two or
more kinds of materials for effective strength, heat, and other mechanical and physical
properties. Each plastics type has a unique arrangement of the fundamental atoms thus
unique characteristics and behavior. Their arrangement determines their crystallinity
and thus makes it a bit difficult to know which kinds will form a uniform blend or mix.
However, plastics like all engineering materials are possible to be investigated by
laboratory test.
2.2.1 Polycarbonate PC
Polycarbonate PC, is one of the major plastics that has gained grounds in the automotive
industry due to its versatility, toughness, transparency ( optical), dimensional stability,
impact and temperature resistance. It has ability to resists heat up to about 125 oC PC is a
polymer made up of carbonate groups and bisphenol A. It is a transparent polymer.
Lighter polycarbonates materials can replace conventional gazing glass. PC are used for
automotive headlamp lenses.
Chemical structure
Figure 10:
A representation of Polycarbonate structure.
PC is a thermoplastic material that has replaced most of glass applications in automotive
industry. Its transparency makes it to function as headlight covers without affecting the
visibility and transmission of light rays. PC materials are having high mechanical
strength even at high temperatures thus serves as good resistance to weathering.
2.2.2 Polyurethanes, PUR
Polyurethanes forms are one of the best foam applicable in the automobile sector. All
these plastics are structural foams, the hardness and flexibility of which can be varied
extensively. Structural foams have a cellular core that becomes more and more compact
the further it is from the centre and which is virtually sealed on the surface. Flexible PU
foam has an extremely elastic core with very high resilience, i.e. the material will return
to its original shape even after an extended period of deformation. Recyclability,
22
combined with their ability to fulfill design and economic demands set forth by a
manufacturer, make them an ideal choice for car upholstery materials. They are
normally referred to as urethanes because they are built on a urethane linkages.
The structure of urethanes can be best expressed with the figure 8 below. Eaves D [15]
Figure 11:
A representation of PUR structure
PUR are important plastics that have enormous applications in almost every aspect of
human life. It is used as seats cushions, adhesives and also as insulators in the body of
cars. They provide comfort, protection as well as conservation of energy. Polyurethane
foams can also be found in armrests and headrests of most cars, better where cushioning
properties eliminates or help reduce stress and fatigue during driving. Durability light
weight and strength, of these materials have paved the numerous applications in the
automobile industry. Their toughness and light-weight properties means that the overall
weight of cars is reduced, resulting in greater fuel efficiency and improved
environmental performance. [16]
Due to its water resistance, it serves as good flooring material. It flexibility is the reason
for many complex shaped buildings.
2.2.3 High densityPolyethylene,(HD-PE)
The two main types of polyethylene are low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and highdensity polyethylene (HDPE). They are made from the ethylene monomer and are
named according to how the chains are formed. The structure is shown in 9 below.
Figure 12:
a representation of PE chains.
23
LDPE is soft, flexible and easy to cut, with the feel of candle wax. When very thin
it is transparent, when thick it is milky white, unless a coloring agent is added. LDPE is
used in the manufacture of automobile fittings, baby car seat, film bags, sacks and
sheeting, blow-molded bottles, food boxes, flexible piping and hosepipes, household
articles such as buckets and bowls, toys, telephone cable sheaths and many more.
HDPE is tougher and stiffer than LDPE, and is always milky white in colour, even
when very thin. It is used for bags and industrial wrappings, soft drinks bottles,
detergents and cosmetics containers, toys, jerry cans, crates, dustbins.
2.2.4 Polypropylene, PP
Polypropylene, PP, is a thermoplastic plastic that is formed as result of addition
polymerization from the monomer propylene. Its chemical formula is built of three
atoms of carbon bounded to six atoms of hydrogen. C3H6 . PP has many industrial and
domestic applications due to it high melting temperature of about 160oC. The length of
the chain is dependent upon the number of C-C bonds or number of carbon. PP has
gained many applications in the automobile industry because of its excellent impact
balance, low density, fatigue resistance, chemical resistance, good tensile strength, anti
scratch and toughness.
PP can exist in two main forms with each giving it unique properties and applications.
There is an isotatic and atatic chains. The names are derived from the positioning to the
methyl groups. PP has a density of about 0,946 g/cm3 in the crystalline state. The
isotatic PP has high chemical resistance, flow, creep resistance, tensile strength and
modulus whereas its value of elongation is very minimal. The atatic arrangement of PP
introduces certain amount of crystallinity into the PP chains thereby causing some
changes in mechanical properties, like improved processability, low temperature
performance and ability to elongate. The density of the atatic PP is thus lowered to
about 0,855 g/cm.
Figure 10 shows two arrangement of PP. The first figure shows an alternating positing
of the methyl groups whiles the second shows a uniform linear positioning of the
methyl group, where x represents the length of chain.
24
Figure 13:
an actatic and isotactic representation of PP, Tripathi,D.[17]
PP in the automotive industry are used in the manufacturing of mudguards, tool boxes,
wheel arch liners, steering wheel covers, brake fluids reservoir fittings, bumpers, body
panel and battery cases. PP polymer at higher temperature during processing release
very volatile organic compounds into the surroundings air which affect workers skins
and breath, It however, does not pose any health hazard. However, it is advisable to use
proper inhaler mask during it industrial processing. PP polymer is used in the
manufacturing of bottles, bowls, and buckets, filament yarns, packaging sacks, artificial
sport surfaces, door frames, tubs, iron body parts, stackable chairs, pressure pipes,
domestic wastewater pipes to mention but a few.
Body parts made of this material are usually manufactured as blends. Complex
injection-molding plants are required for manufacturing large parts. For this reason,
they can be produced particularly cost-efficiently in the large numbers required by the
automotive industry.
2.2.5 Polyamide, PA
PA can be said to be the largest group of engineering plastics. There are many parts of
these plastics depending on the length of the chains. They are polymers that can exist
natural or industrially. They are produced by condensation polymerization involving
amide and acid which usually has water as a byproduct. Polyamides are classified as
polymers which have an amide group recurring in the chain. (-CO-NH-). They are also
called nylons. They have the ability to form fibers. Polyamide 6 6 is an example of
these with extremely high melting point of about 265 oc making it suitable for high heat
resistance appliance.
25
The structure below is a 6 carbons of amides and adipic acid respectively forming
polyamide 6 6 atoms)
nH2N-(CH2)6 -NH2+ nHOOC-{CH2)4-COOH
Figure 14: hexamethylene diamine adipic acid, Singh Jagdamba [18]
They are characteristically very resistant to wear and abrasion, have good mechanical
properties even at elevated temperatures, have low permeability to gases and have good
chemical resistance, they also have good toughness, high strength and are good flame
retardant. Polyamides like most plastics are very sensitive to UV lights and thus need
stabilizers, are affected by strong acids and bases, they stand the risk of losing
mechanical properties at high moisture absorption rate. Care is needed during molding
since shrinkage is very high. Many automotive companies are using this material for the
wheel trims, airbags, gaskets, tyres, hoses, ropes and many other items out of the
automobile section. These materials have a tough and resilient material with high
rigidity and strength. They are resistant to most organic solvents. However, this is not
entirely positive property since absorbed water may be dumped on surfaces of
adhesions and coatings. Molecular water is reversibly bound within the molecular
structure, i.e. it absorbs water from the ambient air and releases water to the ambient air.
2.2.6 Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, ABS
Poly Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene, ABS is a copolymer made up the acrylonitrile,
butadiene and styrene monomers. ABS is an amorphous blend that combines the
strength and heat resistivity of acrylonitrile transparency and low cost of styrene
coupled with the toughness, low temperature properties and elongation of natural
butadiene rubber to form a shift, heat resistant, elastic and low temperature blend. The
three monomers are apportioned depending on the required properties for the
application of the final product. It can be in a ratio of 35% acrylonitrile, , 5- 30%
butadiene and 40 -60% styrene resulting in a long chain of polybutadiene which is cross
linked with polystyrene co acrylonitrile. Figure 15 is a presentation of ABS. It is
stronger than styrene because of the strong polar holding forces from the nitrile groups
in the chain from. They are used for electrical/electronic applications andinterior
decorations.
26
ABS plastics are copolymer which derives their properties from each of the constituting
components thus better mechanical rigidity and toughness. The rubber component
(Butadiene) gives its toughness whiles the acrylonitrile equips it with rigidity. The
structures of the forming monomers are represented in figure 12-14 below.
Figure 15: A view of acrylonitrile and styrene monomers respectively, [19].
Figure 16: A view of butadiene rubber monomer, [20]
27
Figure 17:
representation of ABS arrangement giving it unique properties.
Strong, A. B. [21]
The rubber makes it brittle when exposed to naked sunlight or UV radiation without any
protection as they tend to lose their toughness, which result in aging.
2.2.7 Polymethyl methacrylate, PMMA
The problem of degradation in most amorphous plastics is minimized in PMMA
materials. Mechanical and optical property is not affected in anyway by UV radiation as
seen in PC plastics because PMMA transparency makes it possible to absorb only trace
amount of light and UV radiation, these absorbed radiations lack the needed amount of
energy necessary to break down the intermolecular bonds within the polymer chains
making it suitable for long term weather resistance.
The structure of PMMA is given by C4H8O2
The figure below accounts for the transparency in PMMA.
Figure 18: A representation of PMMA structure. The cyclic in this structure give its
transparency.
28
PMMA has great scratch resistance when compared with PC but less when with glass. It
remain glass substitute automobile due to its low density and toughness, it is relatively
lightweight. PMMA unique properties has increased its application not only in
engineering field but also in the medicine field since it is biocompatible with human
body. Brydson [22]
2.2.8 Polyphenylene oxides, PPO
Poly(p-phenylene oxide) (PPO) or poly(p-phenylene ether) (PPE) are high-temperature
thermoplastics. PPO are usually used as a blend with poly styrene( PS), High Impact
Poly Styrene (HIPS) or polyamide in order to increase process ability as it does not
remain as liquid like most thermoplastics during the processing. PPO has a high glass
transition temperature of about 210oc. It is formed by a condensation process involving
the monomer 2,6-dimethylphenol with water as a byproduct. They are structured as
phenylene rings linked by 1,4 or para position.
Figure 19: structure of PPO, [24]
2.2.9 Polybutylene terephthalate
Polybutylene terephthalate is a semi crystaline derived from 1,4 butanediol with either
terephthalic acid or dimethyl terephthalate with esterification catalyst. The process
involves two main reactions.
PBT has a chemical structure as:
29
Figure 20:
A PBT structure.
It is thermoplastic polyester. It fits as an engineering plastic as a result of its heat
resistance, excellent electrical properties, stiffness, hardness and is very resistant to
environmental influences. They are able to form blend with other polymers or blends
such as polycarbonate (PBT/PC, PBT/PET, PBT/ABS). Their modulus, strength and
heat deletion temperature under load could be increase by reinforcement. They can be
used for the manufacturing of parts such as ignition coil, distributor cap, switch, head
lamb garnish as well as other application aside automobile applications like oven
handle, hair dryer, cooling fun and optical loose tubes. This reinforced PBT are not
environmentally friendly because, they cannot be degraded or recycles because of the
impurities added to reinforce them. [25]
2.2.10 PVC Polyvinyl chloride,PVC
PVC is a versatile plastic due, not least, to the fact that it can be produced with a wide
variety of properties, from rigid to rubbery. Polyvinyl chloride is a hard, rigid material,
unless plasticizers are added.
The chemical structure shows how Hydrogen atoms are bounded to Chlorine atom.
Figure 21: PVC structure, [25]
Common applications for PVC include bottles, thin sheeting, water and irrigation pipes,
gutters, window frames, building panels, etc. Plasticizers improve flexibility making
30
the material rather weak. Plastizied polyvinyl chloride PPVC are then able to be
processed by other means and can be used for automobile linings, hosepipes and cable
coverings, shoes, flooring, raincoats, shower curtains, furniture covers, bottles, etc.
2.2.11 Composites
As said earlier, two or more plastics or plastics and other engineering material like glass
fiber, wood or even metals can be mixed in a right proportion to obtain a final
advantageous material properties better than one type of constituting materials. They are
serve as the only options most of the times to have the needed properties. These
materials can be combined with particulate, fibers or be laminated. Thermoplastic
composites made from polypropylene (PP) and long sisal fibres by using different processing
techniques are thermoformed with small wall-thickness reductions to obtain a threedimensional shape with very low forming energy, outstanding properties and excellent
surface finish.
2.3 Methods of plastic waste management
Plastics like most material turns to be waste after serving their useful purpose, and
plastics used in the automobiles cannot be isolated and thus the concept waste
management has being employed by many city authorities, researchers, and other stake
holders to address the waste generated from cars after their useful life or breakdown.
Solid Waste management still poses a crucial treat to the environment. The question has
been how to effectively manage and control the countless amount of waste generated in
order to save the environment and health as well as to make the environment effectively
and efficiently for the continuous existence of humankind. The best form of managing
waste is to try as much as possible to avoid generating it. Minimal production of waste
becomes an option when total avoidance is not possible. A final and problematic option
to all nations which involves lots of finance and technical knowhow is to recycle the
waste generated into other useful material of same or different kind or forms. Plastics in
automobiles unfortunately happen to fall within the last group which means every
society must aim at recycling plastics waste in automobiles which have come to end of
life either through accident or old age. The avoidance of plastic waste is not achievable
at this stage of advance technology when all and sundry yearn and hope for an efficient,
economical, versatile, stylish, comfortable, and yet less expensive cars to drive.
31
2.3.1 Sources of plastics waste
The first step to solve a problem is to identify the source of it. As stated already,
industrial waste is the main source of waste of interest under this studies and precisely
the automobile industry. Plastic waste is becoming an increasing problem because of the
rate at which they are replacing traditional metal and glass parts.
i.
Industrial waste
A majority of these wastes are generated on factory floor thus not contaminated and
can be recycled without much cost if there are reinforcers. They are usually defects or
rejected materials. Industrial waste includes:

Electrical and electronic industries: e.g. cable pipes, computer cases, mobile
phone cases, electrical switches, compact disc to mention but a few.
The pictures in figures 20 and 21 are few examples of electrical and electronic waste.
Figure 22:
Figure 23:
plastic computers and mobile phones cases, [26]
plastics cable waste and end of life televisions collected as waste. [27]
32

airplanes and ships: Light and efficient airplanes are possible because of light
composites materials which are built by polymer resins enforced with glass
fiber. Insulation and windows in aero planes and ships are safe, light and
comfortable because of plastics. The figures 22 and 23 show waste of airplane
and ship.
Figure 24:
Figure 25:

An example of airplane waste, [28]
A British ship under demolishment as after its useful life .
The automotive industries: Cars are made lighter with new plastic dashboards,
bumpers, inlet manifold, and door panels and most importantly safety, improved
33
comforting media devices all made of plastics. Spare-parts for cars, such as fan
blades, seat coverings, battery containers and front grills. (Which form the
backbone of this thesis)
The pictures in figures 23, 24 and 25 below show some automobile wastes as
they come to end of life. Figure 24 is a representation of how a plastic battery
can be re-cycled and re-use.
Figure 26:
End of life vehicle battery
34
Figure 27:
A systematic flow of plastic battery recycling,
35
[29]
Figure 28:
illustration of scrap car parts
These sources of waste are normally the used and not the rejected material since Ghana
does not have many companies producing parts in automobiles, construction and
electrical appliances but instead have lots of waste from the industry because of old and
damaged products.
The problem of plastic waste would have been less of a burden if biodegradable plastics
could be incorporated into automobiles. But that notwithstanding, the petroleum based
plastics could have some chemicals added that could increase the degradability after
some years. The truth of the matter is that, automobiles plastic are often toughened and
strengthen to increase their performance and these are usually done by adding
reinforcers as fillers which make them less responsive to wear, UV radiation, and even
more difficult to recycle even if it were possible.
ii.
Commercial waste
Films of plastic seem to be the major waste contributor under commercial waste. The
general method of managing this by most companies has been from the factory level by
recycling their generated waste. Many educations are going on in almost every part of
the world to help sensitized the people to help to sort waste generated either
commercially or domestically. The health services are major sources of such
36
commercial waste.
The images below are some examples of commercial waste.
Figure 29:
iii.
A collection of mixed and hospital plastic waste .
Municipal waste
A major contributor to the Ghanaian waste maniac is the littered plastics both on large
or low scale. This attitude of leaving waste without any caution can also be seen in
automobiles as people leave their accident cars or old cars which are beyond repairs at
unauthorized locations or bushes. The sports stadia, airport, ship yards and other playing
grounds are full of such waste as the people living in a community or other communities
come together for the sake of games or travels and leave their waste behind. Water
sachets and other soft drink plastic bottle are major contributors of this group of waste.
Improper handling of these could form piles of wastes around vicinities. Some of such
waste can be collected as shown in the pictures in figure 27.
Figure 30:
A picture of collected plastic bottle waste on the large scale municipal level
37
Fortunately, the PE (water sachet) films which are ultraviolet (UV) degradable are
already ageing and broken into smaller pieces before they are even collected from the
streets. However, most of these plastic wastes remain as fresh as they are.
2.3.2 Identifying and sorting plastics
Plastic is one of the main engineering materials that need special care and attention so
far as their waste management is concerned. Different grades of plastics cannot be
mixed in the recycling process and few mixed types can result in a total break down or
different chemical, mechanical and physical properties of new product. The situation
can become worse if for example a Polyvinylchloride, PVC is mixed with other plastics.
PVC emits hazardous chemicals like chlorine. Plastics are identified by unique code
however, they are not always seen and when there are large volumes of waste to be
sorted, it creates more problems. The density –based and selective dissolution are other
methods aside manual sorting.
It is therefore essential that, the materials are correctly identified. It is usually difficult
to tell exactly which type of plastic is present solely from the type of product. A simple
burning test can be done; an infrared analysis may be carried out to help ease the
problem of identifying types of plastics which usually happen to be the most
problematic stage in the plastic recycling. In order to help ease the process of
identifying and sorting plastics, there are numbers given globally to the often used
plastics which help identify them even without knowing their names. The coding system
is as shown in figure 31.
38
Figure 31:
Plastic coding system for easy identification, [30]
The main separating techniques in sorting plastics include;
a.
Manual sorting:
The process of identifying waste plastics of different materials by people with a
“trained eye” while the materials are been moved by them is known as manual sorting.
The materials are recognized by identification codes and by the different distinctiveness
of the plastics that differentiates it for visual identification.
39
Figure 32:
b.
Manual sorting of mixed trash. [ 31]
Density based:
Density based technique form of sorting is carried out in a hydrocyclone or float sink
tank. However this approach is not good for polyolefins as their densities are very
similar. Since their specific gravities overlap, it is also not viable to disconnect PVC and
PET . Tall (2002) presupposes that there is a possibility to alter the density by diverse
fillers in the materials, which renders it difficult to have an absolute separation. In the
float-sink severance, the plastics are positioned in a fluid that has a density in-between
the materials making it probable for less dense materials to float and the heavier to sink.
Common fluids used are: water for the separation of polyolefins from other plastics.
c.
Selective dissolution:
Selective dissolution sorting is supported by batch dissolution of assorted plastics using
solvents. To obtain a complete separation of the plastics a careful management of
temperature and selection of solvent is needed. Identical solvent can be used for taking
apart PS, LDPE, HDPE, PP and PVC, since these plastics melt at different hotness. PS
dissolves almost immediately when the plastics are added to the solvent tank. The PS
solution is drained and another hotter batch of about 750oC solvent is added dissolving
LDPE. The temperature keeps increasing till about 1200oC. If PVC and PET are to be
40
separated, a mixture of solvents is used in which PVC dissolves at a lower temperature
than PET.
To identify plastics covered with paints is difficult just like in automobiles since most
plastics look alike. One way to solving this in developed countries has been directions
from stakeholders to manufacturers to visibly give the detailed material information
before selling products out. To the Ghanaian community this does not give the
impression that it is a solution because when almost all cars arriving are already over
aged and the few which are not do not necessarily go into educated hands who have no
knowledge of plastics and its handling. Many different types of plastics may look
identical, or one type of plastic may appear to have several physical and chemical
characteristics depending on the type of additive that has been used. Detailed chemical
tests, such as infrared analysis, may be needed to make a definite identification of a
polymer.
2.3.3 Plastic Waste Recycling Processes
Recycling or reprocessing of plastics is usually known as the process by which plastic
waste material that would otherwise become solid waste are gathered, separated,
developed and returned to use. [42]. According to the EU derivative the amount of
waste in automobiles to the landfill must be reduced to 5% by 2015.
Table 4: EU utilization requirement in 2006, [32]
2006
2015
Reuse and recycling
>80%
>85%
recovering
<5%
<10%
Utilization in total
>85%
>95%
Final disposal at a dump
<15%
<5%
Coming up with a resourceful and cost-effective approach to recycling of plastics waste
that have accomplished their intended function, regaining them from the ravage stream
and retrieving them back into the manufacturing procedures necessitates collection,
categorization and cleaning and as a final point recovery. In support of identical plastic
waste streams recycling by mechanical (or physical) processes the economically favored
is a laudable option. Diverse plastic waste flows on the other hand are more treated or
41
handled by chemical and thermal processes, for recycling of basic chemicals and /or
energy. The processes are briefly elaborated underneath.
a. Mechanical Recycling
Mechanical recycling is the material reprocessing of waste plastics by physical means
into plastics products. The sorted plastics are cleaned and developed straightforwardly
into end products or into flakes or pellets of reliable quality suitable to producers. The
ways used to reprocess post-consumer plastics may differ from process to process, but
normally entail assessment for exclusion of contaminants or further arrangement,
washing, grinding, drying and conversion into either flakes or pellets. Pellets are
processed by softening of the flakes of the dry plastic and then extruding it into tiny
filaments that are severed into minute, standardized pieces. The molten plastic is pushed
and forced through a fine screen (filter) to get rid of any contaminants that may have
escaped the washing cycle. The filaments are cooled, cut up into pellets and stored up
for sale and shipment. Plastics of different nature may also under different
transformation conditions such as different dispensation temperatures, the use of
vacuum stripping, or other methods that could influence pollutant levels. During the
grinding or melting levels, the recycled material may be blended with new polymer or
with additives. Mechanical recycling is the ideal recovery direction for identical and
relatively clean plastics waste flows, provided with the existence of end markets for the
resultant recycled products.
b. Feedstock or Chemical Recycling
Chemical recycling or feedstock reprocessing means that a polymeric product could be
broken down into its individual parts ( plastics or hydrocarbon feedstock – synthesis
gas) and that these mechanisms could then be fed back as raw material to regenerate the
new product or others. Feedstock recycling include chemical depolymerisation
(glycolysis, methanolysis, hydrolysis, ammonolysis etc), gasification and partial
oxidation, thermal degradation (thermal cracking, pyrolisis, steam cracking, etc),
catalytic furious and reforming, and hydrogenation. in addition to conventional
handlings (pyrolisis, gasification), new technological methods for the dilapidation of
plastics, such as conversion under supercritical surroundings and co processing with
coal are being tested. This practice of recycling is nonetheless not suited for developing
42
countries. This is because it demands a lot of know-how, intensive resources and is
quite difficult. Even in industrialized countries, it is still under development and is being
put into practice by only few companies. A number of industries have effectively
developed and showed technologies many of which can recycle mixed plastics flows.
There has been some interest shown in other areas of chemical recycling, such as the
depolymerisation of PET or treatment of PVC to make chemicals which can then be
used in the production of new plastics (APME, 2002-2003).
c. Energy Recovery
Plastics as petroleum based material are rich in oil content even as a waste product.
Power recovered from plastic waste can make a major input to energy production.
Plastics can be co-incinerated with other wastes or used as source of fuel (e.g. coal) in
numerous manufacturing processes (cement kilns). The energy level of plastic waste can
be reclaimed in other thermal and chemical processes such as pyrolisis. As plastic waste
is incessantly being recycled, their physical and chemical properties are lost at their endof-life cycle. Constant reprocessing could lead to second-rate and low quality products.
Hence it would no longer be economically gainful to recycle any longer. Incineration
with energy restoration would be the economically ideal option at this stage.
2.4 End of life vehicles (ELVs)
As the word, end, implies, something that has no meaningful use or lost its usefulness.
All cars and light weight trucks which have served their stipulated number of years and
can be classified as waste can be referred to as End of Life Vehicles (ELVs).
However, the legal definition of “end-of-life vehicles” within the EU is defined as
below.
“Vehicle' means any vehicle designated as category M1 or N1 defined in Annex IIA to
Directive 70/156/EEC, and three wheel motor vehicles as defined in Directive
92/61/EEC, but excluding motor tricycles; 'End-of life vehicle' means a vehicle which is
waste within the meaning of Article 1(a) of Directive 75/442/EEC;2” [ 35]
2.4.1
History of End of Life Vehicle
The end of vehicle life emerged in 1996 when various government agencies around
Europe came up with a commission to make legislation of waste. In particular, the
commission was instituted on End of Life Vehicles and generated important questions
43
as who take responsibility for the generated waste by these vehicles. The body deduced
that new law was required with respect to this kind of waste judging by its nature and
eminent danger to the environment if not treated. [36]
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Working Party
on waste streams also shared the same sentiment and took into consideration the
suitable care of End of Life Vehicles as a significant approach toward curbing waste
generated significantly by end of life vehicles and the danger associated with its byproducts, whilst streamlining the end goal producing an environment for the next
decades sustainably.
2.4.2 Principles and philosophy ELVs
The acceptance of product and closed-loop material reprocessing forms the basis of the
accountable dealings with the environment, life cycle engineering and resources. End of
life vehicles are retrieved in five significant levels according to the EU directive. The
main steps are illustrated in figure 34. These are;
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Draining the vehicle,
Dismantling,
Sorting
Processing reusable parts as well as
Grating the rest of the body.
44
Figure 33:
Major steps for ELV Recycling According to the E.U. Directive, [36]
Draining: this is the first thing done as cars come to ELV, the moment the outside and
the engine area have been cleansed and the tyres removed, the automobile is drained by
doing away with vehicle or automotive fluids and the parts surrounding fluids. Draining
is important because of the danger involved in likely pollution as fluids finish on the
storage area, together with the danger of subsequent soiling of remaining waste. The
parts which are not difficult to access from the exterior are dismantled after draining,
which includes body parts that can be retrieved, for example bumpers, plastic fuel tank
and auxiliary compilations.
Dismantling and Sorting: In the dismantling process, it is necessary to make a
decision concerning where the parts will definitely end up. Some electronic parts like
electric motors are practically wear-free and therefore appropriate for use again or
persisted use in related vehicle models. Plastics which are divided by kinds following
taking to pieces are then passed on plastic reprocessing and the rest of the body is grated
45
and the steel and nonferrous metals then reprocessed. (Bullinger, 2009). The picture in
figure 35 gives a brief dismantling and sorting of a car.
Figure 34:
dismantled car into single units,[37]
According to the Finnish Car Recycling, this process is not different but in Finland, the
vehicles are dismantled and differentiated in three industry forms as follows:

Magnetic steel, raw material for the steel industry

NFR (Non-Ferrous Residue), different metals, which are further processed into
raw materials of the metal industry

Light components; part are recovered as energy and unrecoverable waste is
disposed of at a dump.
In Finland, the pre-treatment of end-of-life vehicle is dried, for example all forms of
liquids are eliminated. In addition, tyres, battery and catalyser are eliminated from the
46
automobile and parts with eminent danger of explosion, like airbags are eradicated in
some other form. growth.[32]
2.4.3
End-of-Life Issues
Within hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and EVs, the subject of end-of-life is in
connection with the life of the different parts and general management of life cycle. In
connection with the mechanical aspects with regards the engine and transmission, it is
equal or equivalent as in internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile. In a HEV, the
battery is necessitated for about 10 years which is well-matched with the guaranteed life
of the vehicle. Within the hybrid-specific parts the motor is deemed the more strong
body. The life rate of the motor in itself is assumed to have a life span of ten or twelve
years. The expectancy rate of all hybrid-specific items, which consist of the motor,
battery and power electronics, is considerably influenced by ambient heat and the mode
of operation. This means the difference that exists between the incessant drive cycle
order and its climax has effects on the general life cycle. This pertains to power
electronics, battery and motor and if there is an existence of extraordinarily high levels
and valleys with correlated harmonics in the voltage and current, it will have
consequences on the life anticipation in the future. In relation to the issue of life cycle, it
ought to be noticed that certain items within the battery and motor have the potential of
being reprocessed. For instance, the battery casing possibly will be straightforwardly be
used again, and other objects or materials within can be recycled. The situation with the
motor is not different as it potentially can be overhauled and if it is an everlasting
magnet motor, the magnets could be changed if there are certain properties lost.
Relating this to Ghana recycling or reprocessing of automobile components, the most
common form is the reuse especially, the battery is chemically charged to extend the life
rate which could then be used for certain period of time or years[38]
2.4.4
End-of-Life Vehicle Recycling in European Union(EU)
Vehicles are indispensable to humanity and continuous to grow in use, nonetheless, they
during affect the atmosphere in different forms during their life cycle. Natural resources
and energy are consumed as well as waste creation in production and use and discarding
at the climax of their functional lives. Within the European Union (EU) nearly 75
percent of end-of-life automobiles predominantly metals, are eco-friendly whilst the
47
remaining 25% of cars are deemed garbage and normally goes to landfills. The EU law
on environment necessitates the lowering of this trash to a 5 percent by the year 2015.
Production of vehicles has seen a major up surge in the last 20 years, with nearly 58
million units which do not take into account commercial automobiles in 2000. Figures
by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the overall
amount of cars in OECD nations were anticipated to rise by 32 percent from 1997 to
2020. Manufacturing of vehicle is fairly circulated between Europe, Asia and North and
South America. Since 1998 over 14.5 million vehicles have been produced annually,
with overall car manufacturing almost 17 million in 2002 (light commercial cars, trucks,
passenger cars and buses). Available statistics shows that in 2001 more than 180 million
units were in operation in the EU as compared to the 160 million in 1995. Over 80
percent of these vehicles were assembled in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Great
Britain. The rise in vehicle manufacturing and the use of statistics identifies the
significance of the car manufacturing society. Nevertheless, that sector is confronted
with series of serious problems connected in actual fact to its effect on the atmosphere.
Automobiles have consequences on humanity via their whole life cycle. Problems such
as using up of energy and resources, greenhouse gases, waste generation, hazardous
substance emission and the dumping at the last part of their lives are challenges
generated by vehicle manufacturing and use. [39]
2.4.5 Present ELV Reprocessing in the EU
Reprocessing of ELVs takes into account the recycling itself, reuse and recovery. The
propelling force, method and process for reprocessing ELVs emanate from diverse
reasons that have transformed with time. In this era globalization, reprocessing of ELV
is urged not by technological and economic factors but in addition societal and concerns
of the environment. This is to say that the vehicle sector is changing toward sustainable
management of waste. Methods for recycling are connected to the equipments involved
in the production of vehicle in addition to assembled parts. In recent years automobile
constituents has been changing to materials which are light like polymeric components
and aluminum. In the 1960s the overall mass of a European vehicle consisted almost 82
percent of ferrous and non-ferrous metals (2 percent aluminum) and 2% plastics whilst
in the 80s the formation of ferrous and non-ferrous metals was around 74-75% with
48
little over 4 percent aluminum whereas plastics were approximated at 8-10 % of weight
of vehicles in Europe. The use of materials such as aluminum and plastics which are
lighter enhanced the economization of fuel and decreased emissions. It is deemed that a
100kg weight decrease of automobile results in 0.7 L/100 km cutback in fuel. Instituting
the use of lighter materials to cars also recompenses for rise in weight resulting from
safety and modern comfortable features. The regular formation of vehicles in the EU
depicts a rise in content of aluminum of 8% in the overall weight of automobile whereas
the ferrous and non-ferrous metals account for nearly 67.5 percent of the car, and further
shows that the use of plastics in average vehicles amount to 9.3 percent as the most
common forms of and types of plastic used in their functions in the body of vehicles are
polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane rubber, polypropylene to mention but only a few.
2.4.6
Expectations for ELV Recycling
Within the EU substantial strategies and agreements of voluntary nature by key vehicle
producers have been established in relation to the environmental influence of
automobiles over their life expectancy. Upon the directions of the European Parliament
and of the council led to the organization of previous national strategies and agreement
of voluntary nature. It was geared toward harmonizing these presented set of laws and
to urge the EU governments and car sector to fully adhere to the directions and
transform its major prerequisites into national legislation. [39]. A portion of the
legislation states that by 2015, all end-of-life automobiles, the recuperation and reuse
shall be raised to a least possible 95 percent by a standard weight of every car year and
during the same time frame, the use again and reprocessing shall be augmented to a
smallest possible percentage of 85 by a standard weight by automobile and year.
Waste avoidance, reprocessing, reuse and recovery of the ELV parts so as to minimize
automobile shredder residue (ASR) waste disposal are the goals of the EU decree.
The major player is the manufacturer, automobile producer or expert importer to a
member state of the EU. The maker connects the main stream (supplier) and downward
stream in the ELV sequence (collector, dismantler and shredder). According to the
directive car manufactured has to meet at least the subsequent objectives, thus, low
energy consumption, easy dismantling, suitable reprocessing and low toxic metals. In
order to attain these objectives, the manufacturer has to have knowledge of technical
49
and economical services, reprocessability rate and effectiveness of the ELV chain
downstream. Subsequently, the manufacturer has to give information on dismantling for
each innovative or new kind or form of automobile brought to the market. In order to
considerably develop the support of the supplier – producer chain, cars should be aimed
at appropriately for reprocessing, dismantling, reuse and free of some dangerous
substances.
2.4.7 End of life vehicles in Finland
Finnish, an EU country has a well organized structure for the handling of ELVs and the
Finnish Car Recycling Ltd is a so-called producer association, which coordinates the
collection, treatment and recycling of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) in accordance with
the requirements laid down in the ELV Directive. The Parliament of Finland adopted
Amendment 452/2004 to the Waste Act in June 4th 2004, which introduced producer
responsibility to Finnish legislation. The Decree on End-of-Life Vehicles (581/2004)
was adopted on 23 June 2004. These regulations enforced the ELV Directive
(2000/53/EC) in Finland. The legislation came into force on 1 September 2004. The
decree applies to passenger cars, vans and special vehicles such as recreational vehicles.
There are currently 252 take-back points throughout the country for end users to send
their cars in order to be given the certificate of destruction. The concept of car recycling
has not been in Finland for long but can be seen from the table below that, it has grown
tremendously because both the people and the laws takes it full course. A press release
on the official site on 30th August 201, indicated a new record in car recycling in the
month of July which represented a 28.6% year-on-year growth. A total of 6,859
vehicles, including 6,431 passenger cars, were scrapped in Finland in July. In 2011,
recycling volumes have been increasing in other months, as well. A total of 33,937
vehicles have been scrapped in January–July 2011. The final owner of a vehicle has to
do three main things in getting released of all responsibilities. Firstly, to choose the
nearest take-back –point, to take car to take-back point and finally to obtain the
certificate of destruction.
In Finland, the average scrapping age of passenger cars is 20.3 years, and the figure is
growing each year the corresponding figure was 18.4 years in 2007. [32]
50
3 Methodology
A subject as new and or of no interest to the people was best handled with a qualitative
interview and observations as there were not many facts and figures to support any
given answers. On field trip were made to ascertain the reality and degree of the
problem. A clearer picture of the where these waste ended up eventually was finally
recovered through this survey. Four main questions formed the basis of the survey or
interview. An interpretation has been made based on the data received from the
interaction and observation made. There were a total of twenty five people forming the
interview.
3.1 Obsservation
There were few visits to some automobile garages in order to have a practical
experience of how waste was handled. There was no form of special collection for any
waste. Everything was mixed up and empty car body frames were left at workshops
without any attempt of recovery or recycling though few were re-assembled or recycled
to other products. The metallic parts as they were used for cooking ports, coal ports or
carrying carts. A night visit to the magazine showed flames from the garbage fires
created a slight fear for the people as it was clear that poisonous substances were
released into the human lungs. However, it was obviously clear in the day time that,
most of the non-metallic parts like bumpers, rims, seats and tyres were re-used or stored
in shops awaiting potential buyers. A visit to a spare parts shop in Accra, confirmed
parts were sold to replace broken or old parts. The figure 35 below shows a spare parts
shop with some head and tail lights, bumpers as well as switch and control boards all
made of plastics or as a composite of them.
51
Figure 35: a picture of a spare parts shop, showing some plastic parts.
The pictures in figure 36 show some scenes from some mechanics shops visited. The
seat has been in the vicinity for more than two years and remains to be there without
any one identifying it as a source of energy or as a raw material for new seat.
Figure 36: Scenes from an automoble workshop in Mazagine
52
The figure below shows a land fill of automobile parts in Magazine. The serious aspect
of it was that, there were children carrying both scrap metals, rims and other parts to the
dump.
3.2 Interview
As stated earlier, the best way of finding better ways of handling automobile waste was
to question people and interact with them. The issue of automobile waste is a broad
field and does not cover only the plastic parts, but as this thesis is concerned, it was to
do with only plastic parts.
3.2.1 The selection criteria
As recycling of plastic waste is a very new to the Ghanaian community, it was
necessary to contact people who mattered or aim to become engineers in the automobile
sector. It was therefore of importance to select people from the automobile workshops
(mechanics), auto parts dealers, DVLA officials, car users, students (automobile and
material science students) .
3.2.2 The process
The interview was more of informal interaction, there were no well organized meeting
with the people as there was not enough days during the work practice to do it. Another
underlying fact was that, most of these mechanics did not have any formal education so
could not read and write. However, the little time and interaction was fruitful as the
people were willing and ready to give answers and suggestions. The main questions in
relation to this thesis were:
1. What materials make up a car?
2. How do we gather and handle waste from automobile?
3. How and whose is to take care of waste from cars?
4. How willing are you to welcome a move to handle plastic waste in automobile?
(On a scale of 1 to 100%).
53
4 Results and Interpretation of interview and observation
After a careful interview and observations, data received were translated to a graph
shown and explained below:
The first question was to enquire knowledge of plastics in cars.
Mechanic
spare parts dealers
DVLA officials
Students
car users
other
Figure 37: Area respondents represented.
The graph above shows that, mechanics, students and license authorities were certain
there were plastic parts in cars though some were not sure of exactly which parts were
of plastics, whereas car users did not nor had little idea of plastics in cars.
The second question was to find out if there was a need to take care of plastic waste
and how to. All respondents were positive about taking care of waste though their only
knowledge of managing them was to burn them except the students who thought they
could be energy recovering or recycling, which they had apparently being taught. It
was clear that, waste was understood from all participants as something that had to go
54
to the dump. Re-use of parts were common but to them they were not waste parts but
instead second goods rather than waste. Figures 37 and 38 below are representation
of question two.
yes
maybe
no
other
Figure 38: Reponses to the need to manage automobile plastic waste
re use
recycle
burn
landfill
other
Figure 39: Possible suggestions given for managing plastic waste
55
The third and main issue was to do with how to gather the plastic waste from cars and
whose responsibility it was. Respondents were of the view that, it was the duty of the
government to take care of all waste since they were paying tax. However, there was a
conflicting response from a student stating that all had to support to managing of
waste.
deliver to car dealers
deliver to workshop
set up collecting point
keep for future use
Figure 40: Possible answers for better ways for gathering plastic waste in automobiles
56
A final part of the questioning was to find out the willingness of how the people were
willing to be involving themselves to the controlling and managing of automobile
waste (plastics).
100-80%
80-50
50-30%
below 30%
Figure 41: Williness off people toward plastic automobile waste management.
However, the observations showed the following:
The following methods were identified as the main means of handling automobile waste
especially the plastics.
The following were identified as main ways of managing plastic automobile waste.

Re-use – both old or broken parts were collected and use in same car or other
cars. Broken parts are repaired to be used again either with welder or glue.

Landfill (majority) - wastes are thrown to dump areas and are burnt periodically.
Parts such as bumpers, battery casing, head lights and wheel covers were mostly re-used
or left to landfills if beyond repairs. A broken car tail light was welded or glued together
to be reused or stored for a potential buyer.
It was also seen that, there were no organized set up recycling plant for cars parts
especially the non-metal ones like plastics and rubbers. Instead, there is a great market
57
for these parts as there are no duplicate parts manufacturing company in Ghana as with
the metals. The metal parts are machined, welded or screwed to make new parts or remelted or assembled to make carrying carts, cooking ports, coal ports and other small
parts for domestic or commercial use. The carrying carts are made with car axles and
wooden boards. The image below show a self assembled carts made of axle, tyres, and
wooden board and a coal port. there are also images of how they are used.
Figure 42: Representations of recycled and re-used automobile metal and tyres waste.
58
The results from the interview show that the people are willing to welcome any
development on how to manage the waste that continue to be burnt almost every night,
polluting the environment, but the lack of expertise and funds that can help run a
recycling and or energy recovery company. The ministry of road and transport is
responsible for automobiles and associating matters. A source from Toyota and
Mercedes Benz (Silverstar) mentioned that, some amount of plastics is realized from
their old cars which are ship to their manufacturing plants for recycling. The Kumasi
and Accra metropolitan assemblies, spends lots of Ghanaian Cedi to get rid of
abandoned cars which usually might have caused many fatal accidents already or serve
as hide out for criminals.
59
5
Discussions
This thesis has shown that, there are better ways in which the Ghanaian community can
control the amount of waste generated from automobile industry. The Ghanaian road is
full of both old and modern cars. An average car in Ghana has a lifespan of about two
decades before end of life. Road accidents, however, has been identified as the main
factor that has brought most cars out of the road even before end of life. These cars are
usually damaged beyond repairs and end up with parts removed leaving the body frame
only. The cars are left unconcerned because no one cares about the remains simply
because there are no laws governing the abandoned cars. Majority of accident or end of
used cars are left in the automotive workshop with most repaired and the ones beyond
repairs virtually left with just the chaises and frame.
In order to be able to handle automobile plastic waste, am attempt must be made to
answer the following fundamental questions:
1. How long cars remain to be on road and how to get it off road after serving their
useful time?
2. Who takes the responsibility of sending end of life cars for recycling and to
where?
3. How will the sorting of plastic from other materials in the automobile be made?
4. How willing are car importers, repairer, engineers, end-users, government
representative and all bodies concerned towards a move to manage the plastic
waste in automobiles.
5. Who finance the managing of these waste and to which extent the nation will
benefit?
The following could be said to be possible means of answering the above questions.
If compared to the European Union, a car serves for about twenty years before coming
to end of life.
Most cars coming to Ghana are more than ten years thus a stipulated twenty years in
addition will make it thirty years already. If and only if the Driver and Vehicle and
license authority could be loyal to the road worthy rules, cars that do not pass test and
fall beyond repairs could be mandated to be taken off-road.
Comparatively, the end user in the European Union is expected to take their cars to the
recycling center, in order to have their deregistration certificate, thus, it could be applied
in the Ghanaian context as this thesis compares Ghana to the EU directives.
The Government or the assembly must not incur the cost except in the cases of cars
which have been involved in accident resulting in the death of owners.
60
The wiliness of the people could be high as there has already been some sort of
campaign on plastic film waste. From the answers, received from mechanics at the
Magazine shows they are ready to welcome any technology, infrastructure or finance in
turning the plastic waste received into useful product.
The sorting of the parts can only be manually done in this case at least on the primary
stage but there must be some sort of training for the people to sort them in the right way
as plastics cannot be mixed for recycling except for energy recovery.
The cost of the recycling looks a bit debatable and will recommend a further discussion
or studies as the benefit of recycling or reusing these plastic and how much volume
there are will encourage anybody paying for it. However, companies who will be using
these recycled parts could be paying a cost for the raw-material made from them and
that means, there should be a ready market for them.
Another option would be for car dealers to export these parts as scraps to their
manufacturing plants.
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6 Conclusion
The concept of managing plastic waste to reduce automobile waste involves looks more
in line with four parties; the dealer, engineer (mechanic), DVLA, and the end-user.
However, how and the amount of plastic to be recovered is not clearly seen as there are
not enough fact of end of life vehicles, in the system. There can only be reuse and
recycling of plastics when there is ready market for it. The reuse has been seen as a
better way of managing plastic waste, however, another method, and energy recovery
could be included at this point when all these plastics could be burnt to recover energy.
The fundamental aims of this thesis are given below with possible solutions and
answers found.
a) Identify the disposal and management of cars plastics part after use.
The main way automobile plastics waste is been disposed in Ghana has been identified
as re-using and land-filling.
b) Find out the effect plastic waste brings to the Ghanaian environment.
Automobile plastic wastes were identified to be polluting landfill and taking up lots of
spaces like other plastic material.
c) Identify mesures of improving plastics waste management in the automotive
sector, (end-of-life vehicle in accordance with European union deritives.)
A first step of improving the plastic waste in automobiles is to control the amount of
imported parts into the country and instead re-used the old parts from end of life cars.
Many car dealers import parts like bumpers, lights, dashbord to mention but a few in
view of making profit but do not carefully consider how these parts will be disposed or
managed after serving useful purposes.
Comparing the EU directives in solving automobile waste pointed out that the Ghanaian
community is lucking out of three main methods of managing waste. The EU directives:
a) Reduction or prevention of waste generation
b) Reuse of the generated waste
c) Recycle of the generated waste into useful products of same or different kind
62
d) Recover energy from the plastic waste generated as plastics are petroleum based
polycarbonates and have the potential of producing energy.
e) Landfills: The final option which all European countries are making effort to
reduce to less than 5% by the year 2015 is the disposal of plastics waste in
automobiles into landfills.
Energy recovery is a laudable idea as Ghana has recently discovered crude oil. These
automobile plastics could be burnt with other plastics to generate energy for the plants
in this area as Ghana’s only source of electricity pose a trait.
d) Analysis the benefits of re-using or recycling of plastic waste in Ghana.
An effective and proper handling of plastic waste will benefit the Ghanaian society;
a) Socially
Socially, recycling plastics waste promotes tourism as most of the times potential tourist
are scared from travelling to countries with high health hazards. Every country benefits
from tourism as it boost a countries foreign exchange. Ghana as an African country will
be able to limit the cost of curing malaria and diarrhea due to pollutions and
contaminations.
b) Environmentally
The environment is safer with plastic waste recycling as the waste are made into new
parts by reducing emission of harmful gases like carbon dioxide (CO2)
into the
atmosphere. Natural resources are preserved when waste are re-cycled or re-use; as
extracted raw material can be re-melted, grinded or molded into new forms. This
phenomenon goes a long way to benefit the global world as gases know no boundary
and petroleum globally will be reserved for the future if the little extracted are re-used
or re-cycled again and again into new products.
c) Economically
Ghana as a nation that is undergoing development could create jobs for the ever
growing unemployed labor by setting up recycling center. If automobile companies in
the country could come together as the HDPE film producers have been able to do, in
employing youths to collect film bags from the streets for a fee for each kilogram
63
collected. There are many abandoned cars on the Ghanaian roads and bushes with
plastic parts which can be reused or recycled into useful parts.
Figure 43:
HDPE bags used for carrying bags and slippers (re-use).
These wastes bring air pollutions, greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions which are harmful
to both the human and natural ecosystem. The Ghanaians valuable resources are then
not conserved.
The EU directive on End of life vehicles could and can improve the attitude of
Ghanaian to a limited car waste abandonment if the governmental agencies like Ghana
road and transport Agency could put up some of these to both private and commercial
car importers. An article on EU Referendum highlights the idea of car manufactures to
pay for disposal of private cars. One of the main reasons why people leave their cars
without any care is that there are no laws or taxes paid for off-road cars not on roads,
and even some cars on roads are not paying tax which does not help to check for old
cars. That is to say there are unregistered cars on the roads. According to the article, car
owners continue to pay licensing scheme and taxes until they have officially
deregistered their cars from the system. Ghana or Africa in a way can be said to be a
damping site for almost all the develop countries as most of accident and old cars are
ship to be sold by their own citizens with the intention of making quick profit. These
64
cars do not only pose as trait to the waste on the Ghanaian community but also as trait
to human life as they give serious injuries in case of accident or even death. It would
have been a great help from developed countries if they could restrict the cars that pass
through their borders to such countries like Ghana. Finland for example has many cars
sent to Africa when they have failed the yearly inspection. Though they cannot dictate
to other countries, they could help limit the amount of these cars leaving the country
depending on the level of damage. The end of the day it is the whole world being
polluted not just Ghana or Africa. Ghana as a nation could set up a pilot project in the
capital, Accra, where car owner would have to obtain a certificate of destruction from
approved treatment center or Driver and Vehicle License Authority (DVLA),
(responsible for issuing licenses). Most of the cars on the Ghanaian market are imported
by individual so the directive for manufacturers to bear the cost of car disposal may not
be applicable. However, these companies could ensure to set up shredding centers in at
least the three big regions (Greater, Central and Ashanti regions) of the country where
individuals could leave their old cars or parts for disposal. Most of the world car
manufacturers like, BMW, Toyota, Mercedes (silver star), Volvo, Tata, Nissan and
many more have service centers to sell and repair their cars but just few of them have
plans for old cars that have come or yet to come to end of life.
The underlying factor is that the attitude of the people towards waste is a fundamental
contributor to plastic waste in all sectors in Ghana. And until a better and
comprehensive education has been given to the Ghanaians and with authorities ready to
take up the responsibilities ought to be taken, the waste problem will persist. The End of
Life Vehicle as shown from the European content shows a collective contribution from
all levels from engineers to the consumer in helping to avoid waste. Ghana as a nonmanufacturing automobile country really has less to do as the automobile plastic waste
in Ghana is less as compared to the other manufacturing countries. Therefore trying to
manage the waste generated will not be much of a problem.
Based on the finding and conclusions of this thesis, the following recommendations
have been made.
65
6.1 Recommendations
After vigorous and comprehensive look at the subject matter with determination it was
seen that Ghana as a nation will need to adapt to the recycling of plastic waste. This is
taken on national, assembly, commercial dealers and individual dealers’ levels as steps
forward to control the landfills in Ghana. This thesis is to help Ghana as a growing
nation to plan in advance before the problem of automobile waste will be on the rise.
Soon the Ghanaian market will be full of manufacturing and assembling plants as the
nation has just discovered petroleum.
6.1.1 On the national level:
The author recommends that, the plastics waste in cars are collected and recycled into
newer parts or used as energy in the newly discovered oil in the central region of the
country as the waste can be burnt with same grade plastics to recover energy. The nation
must be prepared in the long term to have training program for students studying
material science to further their studies in developed countries about starting, handling
and maintaining a recycling plant or the recovering of energy from these waste. Based
on my theological and practical knowledge, it can be said that plastics are not the worse
and dangerous engineering material to human if and only if care and attention would be
given to the waste generated by it.
At the end of this thesis, it can recommend that the ministry of roads and transport,
driver and vehicle license authorities need to come to the drawing table to set up
achievable objectives and plans to help the car dealers and private car owner in handling
old and broken down cars especially the plastic parts.
Plastics saves life, saves energy and can be recycled would be my slogan for an
education to the people.
6.1.2 The assembly level:
Teaching campaigns by the local governmental authorities like Accra and Kumasi
metropolitan assemblies to their people will go a long way to help eradicate avoidable
waste. It will take the effort of one man to get the whole nation to the realization of the
potential in the tones of plastic waste left to landfills or on the road. The key to success
is education and for lack of knowledge the people will perish, therefore it is essential
that the nation makes conscious effort in the short term to educate her citizens.
66
6.1.3 The car dealers:
As the car companies in Ghana do not manufacture the parts of cars in Ghana, it will be
worthwhile to reuse the old part from other cars instead of importing new parts in order
to cut down cost and keep the exchange rate down. It will be of importance to have a
pilot project with some car company to start rewarding private owners who bring their
old plastic parts to be re-used or re-cycled.
6.1.4 Individual level:
A recommendation will be made that; the Ghanaian man will be ready to welcome the
change with plastics. To have a safe and friendly society, all must help to take care of
the waste generated. The author have on personal basis spoken to people the need to
take care of plastics waste in Ghana last year during her practical training trip and
hopes to do more of that as many times as the opportunity is given to travel back to
Ghana. The Rome was not built in a day and it clear that, if all Ghanaians join in the
campaign, it will pay off in the next decades for this thesis is more of the new
generation cars that have been in existence for about ten years now.
There is hope for a safe and friendly environment if the little waste contributed by the
automobile sector could be effectively managed and handled with care for their
avoidance is not an option for now as plastics are gaining better grounds in automobiles
due to their benefits mentioned earlier in chapters 1 and 2.
67
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