Recyclers say Ford Motor Co. left independently owned collision repair shops and even some of its own dealerships "on an island" when it canceled its core charge program for recycling lighting, bumper fascia and select light repair parts.
The program was eliminated, Ford said in an emailed statement to Plastics News, "in response to requests from dealers and collision repairers seeking a more streamlined parts management process. … This change will enable dealers and repairers to be more cost competitive and efficient in serving customers."
The bumper core, a typically rebuildable part, could be used as a partial trade-in for a new or rebuilt part, according to Ford's parts website.
"Similar to the deposit paid for a returnable can or bottle," the website said, "it is an additional charge at the time of purchase to promote the return of the core when the part is replaced. When the core is returned, the charge is refunded."
"I'm guessing there's about 40,000-50,000 bumpers a month that were a part of that recycling program that are now not," said Dave Hartman, a co-owner of automotive plastics recycler Carhart Products Inc. in Saranac, Mich.
Ford hasn't made clear if a plan is in place to absorb those excess bumper cores, Hartman said.
"They've had this program in place for 15-20 years," he said. "Bumper remanufacturers don't exist anymore. There's not a lot of them left. Programs like the Ford core program ran those guys out of business. Collision shops were forced to return those bumpers back to Ford or pay $75. They returned them, they got recycled, and it was a good program. But they took the bumper out of their hands, and they didn't have anything they could sell anymore."