Monday, January 29, 2001

Using recycled materials made from replaced bumpers

Mazda has started to use recycled materials made from replaced bumpers, collected at dealerships nationwide, for bumper reinforcement parts of Mazda Familia series.

Mazda bumper

Mazda bumper

By removing the paint layer of the bumper surface in recycling process, the recycled material keeps the same level of mechanical strength as new materials. Some automakers use similar recycled materials for limited-production models. Mazda is the first to use them for a mass production model.

Previously, the replaced bumpers were recycled without removing the paint layer for splash shields and similar components. However, when paint remains in the recycled materials, it can deteoriate the mechanical strength of the material. For parts that do not need to have as much mechanical strength, Mazda has used lower-cost recycled parts without removing the paint.

The new recycled material is produced by mechanically removing the paint layer, with a technology developed by Takase Gosei Kagaku corporation, a plastics recycling company based in Hiroshima Prefecture. This process enables Mazda to produce material with the same level of mechanical strength as the original bumper at about two-thirds of the cost compared to an existent chemical paint removing technology. This process makes it possible to use the material for the bumper reinforcement parts, with the same level of mechanical strengh as the materials for bumper fascias.

The recycled material now make up 50% of bumper reinforcement parts, where previously they were made totally of new material. Mazda plans to use 52 tons of the recycled material annually, which is approx. 45% of the collected bumpers in total. In the future, Mazda will improve this technology to increase the blending ratio for the bumper reinforcement parts or expand the use of this material to bumper fascia (bumper-to-bumper recycle).

In addition to recycling, Mazda has been working toward environmental protection including CO2 reduction, emission control and development of alternative fuel vehicles. "We aim to promote environmental protection and contribute to a better society," said Mazda president Mark Fields, "while maintaining harmony with nature in our business activities."

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