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Kia way ahead of 2015 recycling regulations

By Kyle Linsay
Monday, January 5, 2015 - 11:00

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Kia’s Hwasung factory in Korea

Kia already meets the target and is aiming for 100 per cent

New regulations come into force at the beginning of 2015 which requires 95% of a vehicle to be recyclable when it reaches the end of its useful life – but Kia are already ahead of the game thanks to pioneering techniques developed at their Automobile Resource Regeneration (ARR) centres.

Kia currently take a holistic approach to the environmental impact of its products which includes 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 and the manufacturer are attempting to go one further by aiming for 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% of a scrapped vehicle to be recycled or re-used and a further 10% to be used for energy recovery from the combustion of non-recyclable residues.

Modern cars contain explosive materials to trigger their airbags in an accident and large quantities of environmentally hostile solids and liquids which must all be recycled or disposed of safely. 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. At the vast 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 Kias are designed and assembled as well as with the choice of materials used in manufacturing.

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