The potential and trend of end-of-life passenger vehicles recycling in China

Yang Li, Kiyoshi Fujikawa, Junbo Wang, Xin Li, Yiyi Ju*, Chenyi Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The contradiction between limited resources and rapid development in the automobile industry has been driving society to seek the supply of recyclable resources from End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs). It has become an urgent need for vehicle recycling policymakers to have an overall understanding of the end-of-life (EoL) vehicle population, as well as for vehicle producers to note what and how they can benefit from ELV recycling. This paper estimated the potential population of EoL passenger vehicles, all recyclable resources from them, as well as the economic values of these recyclable resources. The results show that in 2030, with a lighter-weight trend of passenger vehicles, more than 26.3 million passenger vehicles will be retired with 19.1 million tons of recyclable steel and 6.2 million tons of plastics. The theoretical economic value of all recyclable resources will reach 101.3 billion yuan ($14.4 billion) in 2030, which is an average of approximately 2.4 thousand yuan ($341.8) for each EoL passenger vehicle. It is time for the vehicle producers to shift to a manufacturing mode considering such large potential of ELV recycling. The scenario analysis suggests that in the context of a light-weighting trend, ELV resource recovery in the future calls for improvement in the recycling and reuse technologies of plastics and rubbers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes


  • End-of-Life passenger vehicles
  • Recyclable resources
  • Scenario analysis
  • Urban mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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