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Friday, June 06, 2008

National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program Launched-a Unique Collaboration

Canada's steel and auto industries are supporting and funding a national program designed to remove mercury-containing switches that were used in vehicles for convenience lights (under the hood or in the trunk) and anti-lock braking systems from end-of-life scrapped vehicles before they are flattened, shredded and recycled into new steel. This national program builds on the successful Switch Out initiative delivered by the Clean Air Foundation (CAF), a national not-for-profit organization. With this new funding, CAF will expand Switch Out to all provinces and territories in Canada, providing the infrastructure for the collection, removal and management of the mercury-containing switches as well as practical educational materials to recyclers across the country.

This program partnership is supported by Canadian automotive recyclers and dismantlers and their respective associations - the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI). The collaborative effort among the steel, auto and recycling/dismantling industries is unprecedented and is essential to the success of the program, which will assist the steel and auto industries to meet the new federal pollution prevention requirements regarding mercury-containing switches.

Mark Nantais, President of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association stated that "This program will ensure that the mercury-containing switches in end-of-life vehicles are properly removed and managed so mercury is captured and prevented from entering the environment. As of January 1, 2003 the use of mercury switches in new automobiles has been voluntarily and completely phased out."

Ron Watkins, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, added that "Removing mercury-containing switches from end-of-life vehicles represents the most effective way to reduce mercury releases to the environment. Canada's steel producers are committed to the continued success of the Switch Out program, and are pleased to be working with the auto industry and the Clean Air Foundation to expand it into a truly national program."

Steve Fletcher, Managing Director of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC), said "ARC supports the establishment of a national vehicle mercury switch recovery program. We are committed to working in good faith as we have done in the past and even more now to ensure that the mercury switches from all scrap vehicles are removed." Leonard Shaw, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI), commented that "As stewards of our environment, CARI looks forward to applying our industry expertise to help develop the national Switch Out program."

Since 2001, Switch Out has engaged 448 auto recyclers to collect more than 160,000 mercury-containing convenience lighting switches across Canada. Ersilia Serafini, Executive Director of CAF, stated that "we are committed to delivering this national program and will build on our past success to ensure that the program achieves results. We look forward to working with the Canadian steel and auto industries, as well as engaging many more recyclers and dismantlers in this national program."

Canadian government to encourage older vehicles to be properly retired

Government to offer new incentives for Canadians who do their part

Ottawa, June 4, 2008 – Canada's Environment Minister, John Baird, today was joined by the Clean Air Foundation to launch a National Vehicle Scrappage Program, which will offer incentives to people who retire their 1995 or older model vehicles.

This program will be fully operating by January 2009, and will encourage people to scrap their gas-guzzling vehicles and to turn to environmentally-friendly transportations. The incentives include:
• Public transit passes;
• Bicycles;
• a rebate on the purchase of a new car;
• Membership in a car-sharing program; or
• $300 cash.

“We know Canadians want to do their part to help clean up the air we breathe and to and our Government shares their desire,” said Minister Baird. “That’s why we are launching a national program to get Canadian’s smog-causing gas-guzzlers off the road. This investment, combined with our Turning the Corner plan to cut air pollution from industry by up to 50 per cent, is what Canadians want and what we are delivering.”

The Government is providing $92 million over four years to implement the program, which will be delivered by the Clean Air Foundation – a national not-for-profit organization that runs the award-winning Car Heaven program.

“We are thrilled to be leading this program,” said Ersilia Serafini, Executive Director of the Clean Air Foundation. “Car Heaven is a leading program in Canada and we look forward to working with additional local programs to build on their experience and to enhance this network nationally even more.”

Of the 18 million cars and trucks on Canada’s roads, about five million were manufactured before 1996 (which is when new environmentally conscious standards were introduced). These pre-1996 models produce about 19 times more air pollutants than newer cars and trucks.

Until the program is fully up and running in January 2009, the Government of Canada is providing $3.4 million funding to local vehicle scrappage programs across the country.
This will encourage Canadians to take action now by rewarding them with incentives for retiring their old vehicles that will be part of the national program. These local scrappage programs will have an opportunity to become part of the Clean Air Foundation’s network for the delivery of the new national program in 2009.

As part of the Government’s commitment to high environmental standards, the program will also include a National Car Recycling Code of Practice. This tough code, currently being developed with the Automotive Recyclers of Canada will raise the standard of environmental care for vehicle recycling and apply to all participating recyclers.

The Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and its provincial associations have partnered with the Clean Air Foundation over the years to help deliver vehicle scrappage programs. “We look forward to helping take this to a national scale through our network of local auto dismantlers and recyclers,” said Steve Fletcher, Managing Director of ARC. “Ensuring that the vehicles are properly and permanently retired is the expertise we bring to the national program.”

This initiative is part of the Government’s Turning the Corner action plan, which includes a commitment to reduce emissions from transportation sources and cut smog-forming industrial air pollution in half by 2015.

For information on the vehicle scrappage program, please consult the related Backgrounder or visit: