„REALIZE” – Realizing Resource-efficient Recycling Of Vehicles (Research Project)

Chalmers University Of Technology              Website: www.chalmers.se


E-mail:  press@chalmers.se                Address: SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden      Phone: +46 (0)31-772 10 00                                                                 

References: more information you can find here, here.



WHERE: Sweden
WHEN: 01/10/2012 – 31/10/2015
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Recycling: Reuse – Reprocessing
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Voluntary/promotional
WASTE STREAMS: End-of-life vehicles

About: REALIZE, coordinated by Chalmers University of Technology, was an interdisciplinary and collaborative research project carried out in 2012-2015 with participants from universities, research institutes and industry.

REALIZE was aimed to find strategies for a more resource-efficient recycling of vehicles.


  • Development and assessment of technical and procedural solutions for dismantling, shredding, materials separation and post-shredder treatment of vehicles.
  • Mapping the use and recycling of critical raw materials in vehicles.
  • Identification of organizational and institutional opportunities for advancing Swedish recycling competence and activities in global circular ELV flows.


Knowhow: the synergetic approach based on BAT from research institutes, universities and industry.

Funding; budget: REALIZE was funded by SEK 8 million by the Foundation for Environmental Strategic Research Mistra (within the phase one of the Mistra programme “Closing the loop”). Industrial workers’ work efforts amounted to approximately SEK 3.5 million. Total budget was approximately SEK 11.5 million.

Period of implementation: 01/10/2012 – 31/10/2015

Dismantling of vehicles

Photo Source: Chalmers University Of Technology


  • Developing and evaluating technical solutions for the recycling of vehicles: dismantling, shredding, sorting and treatment of waste fractions.
  • Identifying the use and recycling of critical materials in vehicles.
  • Identifying organizational and institutional opportunities that support development of Swedish recycling activities.

Urban metabolism relevance

REALIZE has taken a systematic approach to increasing Swedish competence and competitiveness, targeting to ensure the availability of critical materials, to increase the value of recycled material in both environmental and economic terms, avoiding material losses and reducing residual waste.

Achieving high levels of material resources, small amounts of residual flows and cost-effective activities for the players is a challenge. In practice, not only the development of new technological processes and working methods, but also the diversification of them in industrial activities is made possible through innovation in business models and intelligent policies.


The practice had innovation and competitiveness support from Swedish industrial players in vehicle recycling, covering all areas of development.

The development of knowledge can be transferred to other complex industrial waste streams and lead to safer material supply and less environmental impact.

Engaged participatory processes

The focus of this project is on recycling, but realizing economically competitive and tightly circular material flows from recycling activities requires the involvement of all actors system wide. The project team included industrial players from every stage of ELV material flows (recycling chain of vehicles) and research institutions with strong interdisciplinary experience and necessary technical and system skills.

The research resulted in several publications, technical reports, seminars, presentations and movies, and continues as the project „Explore”, phase two of „Closing the loop”, 2016-2019.

The development and dissemination of modern and efficient recycling is crucial to ensuring a sustainable supply of material resources, now and in the long term.

Sustainability and replicability


The practice results increase economy competitiveness and high-value material flows in the entire system.

Participants in the project have been put in contact with representatives from the industry, from research institutes and from Chalmers University of Technology, winning some

Development and dissemination of modern and efficient recycling of vehicles is crucial to ensure a sustainable supply of material resources, both at present and in the long term.

Realize directly supports innovation and competitiveness of the Swedish industry in vehicle recycling. This may indirectly benefit others through the development of knowledge that can be transferred to other complex industrial waste streams and lead to safer materials supply and less environmental impact.


The replicability of this practice is enhanced by the need to implement European legislation on ELV waste and by the recycling difficulties solved.

Therefore, the project enables present solutions to the long-term challenges in this economic sector, which is under permanent changes. The findings resulted from such studies are of major importance for all countries preoccupied to improve the recycling rate of ELVs.

The Directive 2000/53/EC on ELVs requires a 95% recovery rate of the vehicle weight, with 85% material recycling.

Success Factors

In order to have positive outcomes must adapt the practice, from Swedish organizational and institutional opportunities to each country specificity.

There are elements that can be taken as they are (ex.: mapping the use and recycling of critical raw materials in vehicles, technical and procedural solutions for dismantling, shredding, materials separation and post-shredder treatment of vehicles), and other that can be changed for better and easier adaptation to each country.


Waste, Resources, Innovation.

Key Challenges

  • Implementation of an EU-wide system, to increase the level of performance of re-use and recycling of waste from ELV.


The information presented above was taken from public sources, and assessed by UrbanWINS experts according to the project requirements, field research, deductions and analytical process. Key assumptions and projections may deviate from the opinions presented by author, this may typically be the result of differing time horizons, methodologies, contexts or other factors.

We do not assume any rights or guarantees, the sources of all data can be found in the „References” section, in the document. At the time of publishing, we did not received a point of view from the owners/beneficiaries of the practice (although have been requested an official position to the authors, via e-mail), and it can be withdrawn simply by email notification.

Any investor must particularly ensure the suitability of an investment as regards his/her financial and fiscal situation and investment objectives.
For more information, please check the deliverable, or contact the implementing body.

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