Recycling potential of plastic resources from end-of-life passenger vehicles in China

Yang Li, Shiyu Huang, Yanhui Liu, Yiyi Ju*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A rapid increase in the number of end-of-life (EoL) passenger vehicles has led to a large amount of waste plastics in China. However, the scale and efficiency of recycling resources from EoL vehicles still restricts the sustainable and healthy development of the automotive industry. The current behavior of automotive/recycling industry entities, as well as the strategy of waste management policymakers, may depend on the potential of total recyclable resources. To reveal such recycling potential of various plastic materials in EoL passenger vehicles, we predicted total EoL passenger vehicles in China from 2021 to 2030 (used the Weibull distribution) considering passenger vehicle ownership (estimated by the Gompertz model), quantified the demand for new passenger vehicles (estimated using its non-linear relationship with income level and passenger vehicle own-ership), and assessed the recyclable plastics by categories and by provinces. The results show that (i) the annual average recycled plastic resources from EoL vehicles would exceed 2400 thousand t in 2030, more than 2.5 times in 2021, showing a great recycling potential; (ii) the differences among the three scenarios are relatively small, indicating that no matter the saturation level of passenger vehicles in China would be high or low, a rapid increase of recyclable plastic resources can be ex-pected from 2021 to 2030; (iii) at the provincial level, a considerable gap between the potential of recycling plastic from EoL passenger vehicles and the regional processing capacity. Given such great potential and regional differences, the recycling policies should be applied in stages and con-sider the development level and recovery pressure in each region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10285
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • End-of-life passenger vehicles
  • Extended producer responsibility
  • Plastic waste
  • Recycling
  • Waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Recycling potential of plastic resources from end-of-life passenger vehicles in China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this