Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering


Applied sciences, Inventory assessment, Life cycle, Vehicle management


Edwin Tam




Life cycle analysis (LCA) will be used to increase the understanding of and consequently improve the end-of-life vehicle (ELV) management process currently employed in North America by: (1) Showing the complete flow in ELV dismantling and shredding systems; (2) Demonstrating the variability in the processes; and (3) Managing this variability so as to close and surmount the gaps in these processes (e.g., improve the recovery and recycling of scrap materials, such as plastics, from pre-shredder ELVs).

A literature review and case studies were conducted in cooperation with industrial recycling partners on operating ELV management facilities such as dismantlers, auto wreckers, and shredders. Successful ELV practices, unit operations, and/or technologies were identified and their practical constraints and issues of concern examined. Using the case study information and supplemental data, a life cycle inventory (LCI) of typical ELV management processes has been constructed.

The LCA approach is used to examine the efficiencies of the vehicle end-of-life (VEOL) dismantling process. The mass flows of parts and/or materials (types and quantities) that are removed preferentially and directed for reuse, remanufacturing, "pre-shredder" recycling, and/or disposal, were assessed relative to the amount of vehicles entering the end-of-life phase. Similarly, dismantling process inefficiencies are characterized in terms of the mass flow of leftover ELV hulks and dismantled parts purged from inventory that are shipped for shredding and metals recovery.

Shredding process efficiencies and inefficiencies are assessed in terms of both the flow of shredded ferrous and non-ferrous metals products recovered, as well as flow of shredder residue (SR) generated and directed for disposal, relative to the quantity of material directed for shredding.

As much as 116.3 kg/tonne (11.6% weight) of the ELVs entering the dismantling process are recovered and directed for either, reuse, remanufacturing or recycling, including the recovered fluids; 5.7% weight of the ELVs processed consisted of parts recovered for reuse. Of the materials directed for shredding - ELV hulks and "scrapped-out" parts and other oversized, metals-rich scrap - 808 kg/tonne (80.8% weight) are recovered in the shredded ferrous and non-ferrous metals products and 192 kg/tonne (19.2% weight) is accounted for in the shredder residue.