Engineering, Recyclable, and Biodegradable Plastics in the Automotive Industry: A Review
The automotive industry has used plastics almost since the beginning. The lightness, flexibility, and many qualities of plastics make them ideal for the automotive industry, reducing cars&rsquo; overall weight and fuel consumption. Engineering plastics in this industry belong to the high-performance segment of non-renewable resources. These plastics exhibit higher properties than commodity plastics. Fortunately, unlike recycled commodity plastics, the super properties and high-performance characteristics make engineering plastics effectively reused after recycling. The substitution of these fossil-fuel-derived plastics adds to the solution of lightweighting, a much-needed solution to waste management, and solves industrial and ecological issues surrounding plastic disposal. All major vehicle manufacturers worldwide use bioplastics and bio-based plastics, including natural-fiber composites and engineering plastics reinforced with natural fibers. Changing the source of plastics to raw materials from renewable resources is the logical approach to sustainability. Thus, high-quality plastics, recycled plastics, bio-based plastics, and biodegradable plastics could be exploited from design, making sustainability an integral concept of mobility development. This review analyzes that switching from fossil-fuel- to renewable-sources-derived plastics is a step toward meeting the current environmental goals for the automotive industry, including electric cars.