Mixed wheel weights test recyclers

Jun 25, 2014 | 09:10 AM | Sean Davidson

Tags  scrap, nonferrous scrap, lead scrap, zinc scrap, steel scrap, ferrous scrap, wheel weights, automotive original equipment manufacturers

NEW YORK — The addition of steel and zinc wheel weights to traditional lead wheel weights are posing real challenges to recyclers, which have struggled to viably segregate the three versions.

There has been a government-encouraged push to remove lead wheel weights from tires, leading to the introduction of steel and zinc varieties over the past three years, but there is no official mandate to make the shift.

But several large companies and states have enforced "no lead wheel weight" policies over the past few years, with most U.S. automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) switching to steel units while European OEMs switched to zinc, due mostly to their existing supply chains, AMM has been told.

The lack of national enforcement or standardization on the use of just one metal has resulted in mixed metal wheel weights at dealer yards.

Recyclers expressed no issues with any one particular metal being used to make the wheel weights. But for those carrying a steel or stainless steel clip (used to attach the weight to the wheel rim), they said there is no feasible method to segregate the wheel weights other than manual sorting—an expensive process given the net worth of the recycled material.....

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