LIFE CIRC-ELV - Boosting circular economy of plastics from end-of-life vehicles through recycling into high added-value applications.

LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438

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Contact details:

Contact person: Raquel Giner Borull
Tel: 34961366040
Fax: 34961366041
Email: proyectos@aimplas.es

Project description:


Scrapped vehicles generate close to 10 million tonnes of waste each year in the EU. At present, efforts to recover the raw materials inside them have focused on removing hazardous substances and recycling metals. Current waste management chains tend to release plastics in mixtures that are expensive to recycle and yield only low-quality materials. To alleviate the burden on natural resources and reduce the amount of waste shipped to landfills, Commission Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles has set ambitious targets on the amount of material recycled. Meeting them will require innovative solutions, such as dismantling and sorting vehicle parts before sending them to shredding plants, cutting the cost of recycling processes and increasing the value of recycled materials.


The LIFE CIRC-ELV project aims to boost plastic recycling rates in the automotive sector by recycling polypropylene in end-of-life cars and reusing it in new products. Economic methods to dismantle and sort plastic components, including bumpers and fuel deposits, will help reduce recycling costs. Project partners will also test pre-treatments and compounding processes to improve the properties and market value of the materials recovered. They will demonstrate the quality and performance of recycled plastics by replacing virgin materials in new products, including automotive parts. This field experience will shed light on business opportunities for replicating plastic recycling process on a wider scale. Substituting virgin plastics with the recycled kind would contribute to the EU circular economy package. It would also support the Waste Framework Directive and Commission Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles by closing the manufacturing loop for plastics used in car manufacturing and tackle the depletion of fossil resources from which they are currently derived.

Expected results:

  • Recycle bumpers and fuel deposits from over 1 000 vehicles;
  • Recover over 12 tonnes of plastic for reuse in new products;
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of polypropylene plastics by 74%;
  • Reduce the amount of non-renewable energy needed to manufacture polypropylene plastics from 70 MJ/kg for virgin material to 6 MJ/kg for the recycled kind;
  • Reduce the manufacturing cost of plastics that incorporate materials recycled from old vehicles by 14%;
  • Replicate and transfer the process to recycle parts from 5% of vehicles scrapped in the EU by 2026
  • .



Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV's) and tyres


energy efficiency‚  resource conservation‚  standard‚  emission reduction‚  plastic waste‚  reuse of materials‚  vehicle‚  recycling‚  automobile industry

Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
  • Directive 2000/53 - End-of life vehicles (18.09.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator AIMPLAS - Asociacin de investigacin de materiales plsticos y conexas
Type of organisation Professional organisation
Description AIMPLAS is a technological centre employing more than 100 experts on plastics. It leads developments in the fields of plastic compounding, processing and recycling, provides business analysis of waste and plastic materials, and has taken part in dozens of EU research projects.
Partners DESGUACE CORTES S.L, Spain SIGIT Automotive S.L., Spain INDRA SAS, France Isolago – Indústria de Plásticos S.A., Portugal SIGRAUTO, Spain


Project reference LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438
Duration 01-SEP-2018 to 31-AUG -2021
Total budget 1,796,278.00 €
EU contribution 1,038,148.00 €
Project location Comunidad Valenciana(España) Rhône-Alpes(France) Norte(Portugal) Centro(Portugal) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal) Algarve(Portugal) Açores(Portugal) Madeira(Portugal)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version