Getting recovered resins approved for use in automotive parts can be challenging, but succeeding can pay major dividends.

That was one a message that Susan Kozora of International Automotive Components (IAC) delivered at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ (ISRI) convention in April in New Orleans.

Kozora, IAC’s director of advanced engineering, provided an instructive explanation about the use of recycled resin in auto parts.

IAC currently uses about 50 million pounds of recycled plastics annually, out of more than 300 million pounds total. Kozora noted that “we’re a very demanding industry” for both virgin and recycled resin providers. She referred to the procurement process as involving “hazing.” But this can be beneficial to recovered plastics reclaimers, as “we can be a large, loyal buyer.”

Kozora told attendees at the ISRI convention that “all the resin tests are exactly the same for virgin and recycled resin.” She did suggest, however, that the momentum toward recycled resin has internal barriers.

“The difference comes with purchasing folks thinking recycled resin should be lower cost,” she said.

In terms of the future for auto parts suppliers, Kozora said “we need to engineer for recycling but we also need to design to use recycled materials.” Recovered resins need to be considered throughout all supply chain, engineering and design steps.