Kia ahead of new recycling regulations

Kia is ahead of new regulations which require 95 per cent of a vehicle to be recyclable when it reaches the end of its useful life thanks to techniques developed at the company's Automobile Resource Regeneration (ARR) centres.

Kia takes a holistic approach to the environmental impact of its products, encompassing manufacturing, use and disposal.

The recently launched all-electric Soul EV demonstrates how cars can be green before they even leave the factory through the use of significant quantities of recycled bio-based materials in its interior construction.

The whole-life global warming potential of the Soul EV is 39.7 per cent less than with the 1.6-litre diesel model - a figure which has been verified by the TUV, Germany's testing, inspection and certification agency.

Kia has also set itself the challenging target of zero waste from scrapped cars as soon as possible.

That may take some time until new dismantling and recovery techniques are developed, but Kia is already meeting the latest EU directive, which requires 85 per cent of a scrapped vehicle to be recycled or re-used and a further 10 per cent to be used for energy recovery from the combustion of non-recyclable residues.

At the Hwasung factory in Korea, Kia has been developing end-of-life treatment technologies to reduce the environmental and social impact of its cars since 2005. The Hwasung ARR has helped in the way new cars are designed and assembled as well as with the choice of materials used in manufacturing.

Metal components such as the car body, engine and gearbox are relatively easy to recycle, as is the battery and exhaust catalyst, but plastics and rubbers present a greater challenge. Now only five per cent of a scrapped car is sent to landfill or incinerated without energy recovery.

With the Soul EV, Kia has demonstrated how recycled materials can re-appear in new cars to improve not only the general environment but also that in the car.

In total, 23 parts - including the sun visors, luggage area side trim, crash-pad skin and the interior paints - are made from bio-based materials. This amounts to 10 per cent of the car's interior. Bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric are all used in the construction of the Soul EV's interior.

As a result, the car has been awarded UL Environment Validation. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is a global independent safety science company.


Peter Thomas

Author:Peter Thomas
Date Updated:5th Jan 2015

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