Toyota recycling program gives second life to parts

Toyota‘s program allows plastic bumpers covers to be shred, then processed into plastic pellets and sold to make other automotive plastic parts.Photo credit: Toyota

One automaker’s junk is becoming one of its treasures.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., along with Boles Parts Supply, takes bumper covers and recycles them in the form of shredding.

The shredded remains are turned into plastic pellets, which are sold to a vendor and become part of the material used to create new plastic parts.

It’s the automotive circle of life, in a way.

Toyota created the National Scrap Program with Boles in 2014, piloting with Toyota’s two largest part centers, Ontario, Calif., and Hebron, Ky.

The program serves as a “one-stop shop” for all of Toyota’s North American parts operation’s recycling needs.

The bumper covers are primarily from dealer returns — ones that were damaged in transit from distribution centers. Covers that are obsolete from Toyota’s inventory also are recycled.

None of the parts, whether from a Toyota, Lexus or Scion model, however, have been installed on a car, said Ernest Lopez, Toyota’s environmental health and safety manager for North American parts operations.

Cloth, foam and rubber also are recycled at the centers. Basically, just about any automobile part that Toyota sends to dealers can be recycled.

In the first 15 months, the program recycled over 40,000 pounds of cloth and foam, which previously had been incinerated or sent to landfills.

The program expanded to parts distribution centers in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., between August 2014 and June 2015. This move more than doubled the amount of cloth, foam, glass and rubber recycled, to over 88,000 pounds.

Toyota is reviewing the program for potential rollout to remaining parts distribution centers by the end of fiscal year 2017.

“We are giving a second life to things that used to be trash and making a real improvement in our recycling rate,” Juliana Dee, manager of the program at the North American parts operation, said in a press release.

For more coverage from Plastics News, an affiliate of Automotive News, click here.

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