Product Stewardship and Automobiles | Region 10 | US EPA

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Product Stewardship and Automobiles

Roadmap for Collaboration

Region 10 has led development of a roadmap that identifies actions for reducing materials and toxicity impacts from automobiles over the life cycle of the product.

Rush hour traffic
Facts About Automobile Life Cycle Management
  • There are approximately 2000 parts in an average vehicle.
  • Current practices in end-of-life management generate 4.5 to 5 million tons of auto shredder residue (the "fluff" left over once a vehicle has been shredded and stripped of its recyclable components).
  • Painting and coating account for 62% of environmental impacts from manufacturing automobiles.
  • The typical automobile contains a lead-acid battery that can be returned to manufacturers who recover and recycle 93% of the lead. The remaining 7% amounts to 42,000 tons of lead released into the environment.

According to a Department of Transportation Study, there were 254,403,082 registered passenger vehicles in the U.S. in 2007. Each year 10 to 11 million vehicles reach the end of their useful lives and are taken out of service.

Environmental policy on automobiles has traditionally focused on fuel efficiency and end-of-pipe emissions, while waste management, resource consumption, and toxicity issues persist with less attention from governments, regulators, and industry.

A complete understanding of these issues requires attention to the materials and toxicity impacts of automobiles at each stage of the product life cycle, including design, manufacturing, purchasing, use, repair and end-of-life.


For more information, or to submit information about the roadmap, current programs, research, or case studies related to automobiles and product stewardship, please contact Viccy Salazar (, 206-553-1060.

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