Toyota develops closed loop copper recycling process for its cars


A world-first technology for recycling copper from wiring harnesses in vehicles has been developed by Toyota Motor Corporation.

Along with eight other partner companies, Toyota has developed a recycling technology that produces 99.96 per cent purity copper.


When end of life wiring harnesses are extracted from end of life vehicles, it was previously difficult to separate the copper from the fuse box and other components.

As a result, it has not been possible to recycle harnesses using mechanical sorting methods.

But in 2010, Toyota and its partners established pre-processing quality requirements for dismantling companies. Then in 2011, it developed the first mechanical sorting method that can prevent contamination from minute impurities.

Trial production involving small amounts of recycled copper began at Toyota’s Honsha plant in Japan in 2013 and once quality had been assessed, this copper was introduced into the production line.

Stable production involving this recycled copper has now been achieved, and annual production of recycled copper using this method will increase production to approximately 1,000 tonnes by 2016.

The new technology is the result of a partnership between Toyota, its parts makers and dismantling companies in Japan on next generation recycling systems.

Toyota now plans to enhance this technology and reduce the costs, while also expanding collaboration on the project.