Covestro collaborates with automotive partners on car-to-car plastic recycling

New joint program aiming for efficient, sustainable automotive plastic recycling

At the CHINAPLAS trade fair in Shanghai, Covestro and partners from the automotive value chain agree on a cooperation for the car-to-car recycling of plastics (from left to right). ): Lutz Frankholz (TÜV Rheinland Shanghai & Suzhou), Danilo Teobaldi (Principal Chief Engineer and Head of Advanced Technologies, NIO), Guido Naberfeld (Mobility Global Sales & Marketing Head, Engineering Plastics business entity, Covestro), Martin Hofmann (Head of the Cluster “Climate, Energy, Environment and Biodiversity” at GIZ), Simon Krämer (Head of Sustainability Product in R&D, Volkswagen China) and Qing Guo (Assistant to the President of GEM Green Industry, Wuhan, Innovation Research Institute). © Covestro

With increasing global environmental awareness and stricter regulatory requirements, the automotive industry is realizing the necessity of plastic recycling for sustainable development. In response, materials manufacturer Covestro, along with partners from the automotive value chain, is spearheading the concept of car-to-car closed-loop plastics recycling, which is emerging as a promising solution to tackle the challenges of plastic waste management in the sector.

Under a joint pilot program initiated by German federal enterprise GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), Covestro and partners will collaborate to establish closed-loop pathways for high-value plastics from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). The goal is to create an efficient and sustainable automotive plastic recycling system, advancing the more sustainable “transformation of the industry”.

“We are proud to partner with like-minded value chain allies to pioneer closed-loop plastic recycling in the automotive sector,” said Lily Wang, Global Head of the Engineering Plastics Business Entity at Covestro. “By leveraging our collective strengths and resources, we are confident in our ability to build a closed-loop for automotive plastics recycling, thereby reducing waste and carbon emissions at the source while improving resource use efficiency. Through this joint program, we aim to expedite the automotive industry’s transition toward a more climate-neutral and sustainable future.”

“The automotive industry stands as one of the most resource-intensive sectors globally, yet the potential of high-value plastics from ELVs remain largely untapped,” said Martin Hofmann, Cluster Head in charge of Climate, Energy, Environment and Biodiversity at GIZ. “GIZ is steering an innovative endeavor to explore closed-loop pathways for high-value plastics from ELVs. I firmly believe that GIZ and our partners can forge a path towards the transition to a sustainable, circular economy.”

As part of the pilot program, a team of professionals will explore methods to recycle and process waste polycarbonate components, such as end-of-life car headlights, into post-consumer recycled (PCR) polycarbonates. The recycled materials will then be reused for various interior and exterior vehicle applications, saving resources and reducing carbon emissions.

This could offer urgently needed long-term solutions for the automotive manufacturing industry, which seeks high-quality PCR materials that are compliant and high-performance amid increasingly stringent regulations. For example, in 2023, the European Commission proposed a new regulation to enhance the circularity of the automotive sector, mandating that 25 percent of the plastics used in a new vehicle must come from recycling, of which 25 percent must be recycled from end-of-life vehicles.

Covestro will also be presenting more solutions for the automotive industry, such as an intelligent front grill and mono-material polycarbonate headlamp that are designed for a connected and circular future.

About Covestro

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, telecommunications and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.  

The company is geared completely to the circular economy. In addition, Covestro aims to achieve climate neutrality for its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2035, and the Group’s Scope 3 emissions are also set to be climate neutral by 2050. Covestro generated sales of EUR 14.4 billion in fiscal year 2023. At the end of 2023, the company had 48 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,500 people (calculated as full-time equivalents). 


Covestro, press release, 2024-04-23.


Covestro AG
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
European Commission
TÜV Rheinland


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