As part of our devotion to a greener future, LKQ is continually looking for innovative ways to reuse or recycle old materials. Currently, it is estimated that automotive recycling is able to successfully divert on average 82% of a used vehicle, by weight, from the landfill. To improve this percentage, LKQ engages in continual research with material suppliers, recycling companies, trade associations, and other experts in the industry.
Current projects include:
Seat Foam Recycling
Unfortunately, automotive seats and interior foam are sent to landfills. However, LKQ is part of a pilot program that is evaluating recycling opportunity once the polyurethan foam is removed. There is evidence provided by emerging technology that indicates recycling potential with the foam when it is chemically treated. The broken down product may be reused to manufacture new products. Testing is being done to verify its potential use.
In cooperation with the Automobile Recyclers Association (ARA), LKQ is participating in a study to collect information that can help improve vehicle design for enhanced fluid collection. Though every effort is made to evacuate all fluids from a vehicle (gasoline, oil, coolants, etc.), it is nearly impossible to retrieve every last drop. To understand the design problems, LKQ collects data on the amount of fluid left behind in system reservoirs after vehicles are processed.
Nylon Airbag Recycling
Undeployed airbags may be removed from vehicles and safely used in automotive repairs; however deployed nylon airbags cannot be used again. In an attempt to prevent these materials from being sent to landfills, LKQ and a partner company are investigating economical ways to recycle the used nylon airbag material.
Hybrid and Electrical Batteries and Composites
Hybring and electrical batteries are emerging trends that most auto recyclers are not equipped to handle. Though hybrid batteries make up a small percentage of the total cars manufactured and the new composite materials are currently in limited use, both are expected to increase in the future. LKQ is collaborating with auto manufacturers to create and improve methods of recycling hybrid batteries and composites, while developing the necessary infrastructure for collection, transport and processing of these materials.