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Friday, December 10, 2010

Recycle your car, don't scrap it

by Eifion Rees is the Ecologist's acting Green Living editor

Two million cars are disposed of every year in the UK, only half of them through the proper channels. Recycle materials and cut down on pollution by sending your old banger to an authorised treatment facility

You’ve finally traded up to a hybrid – or even better, bought a pushbike – and don’t expect to be shelling out on a new car for at least a decade. The question now is what to do with your old one?

With two million cars reaching the end of their working lives in the UK every year, disposing of the tonnes of associated metal, rubber and waste fluids is a huge environmental issue – and big business. When prices for scrap metal hit £200 per tonne in 2008 it led to a rise in thefts of even the most clapped-out cars bycriminal gangs. Prices are currently approximately £150 per tonne.

And yet only half of all decommissioned vehicles are treated at the authorised treatment facilities (ATFs) equipped to deal with them, recycling what can be recovered and disposing safely of the many pollutants associated with motor vehicles.

That means a million cars are ending up cannibalised in driveways or illegal scrap yards, leaching heavy metals and toxins into the ground or rusting by the side of the road – some estimates put the number of cars abandoned in Britain every year at 350,000. Thousands of tonnes of oil and brake fluid are poured down drains, while no rural idyll seems complete these days without a stack of dumped tyres nearby.

Tom Chance, founder of Giveacar, a not-for-profit that recycles cars for scrap and donates profits to charity, says illegal scrapping is a real problem. ‘Unauthorised facilities can do as they please with vehicles. Cars are often cherry-picked for valuable parts before being abandoned and left to rot. Others are crushed without being sufficiently depolluted, so hazardous fluids drain into the surface of the earth, causing considerable environmental damage. Some cars meant for the scrap yard are put back onto the road in a dangerous condition. The woeful audit trail has led to a situation where millions of tyres have been dumped in the countryside and thousands of tonnes of hazardous fluids dispersed into the ground.’

Chance says that while ATFs do good work ensuring that cars are depolluted and recycled effectively, ‘the government does not do enough to discourage the type of scrap merchant that advertises on lampposts’.

Ostensibly addressing the issue of old cars and the environment, what the previous government did do was introduce the Car Scrappage Scheme. Until the beginning of 2010, motorists were paid £2,000 for scrapping old cars and buying new, more environmentally friendly ones. Aimed more at kick-starting an economy teetering on the brink of recession rather than addressing substantively any environmental issues, critics such as George Monbiot were scathing of what he called a ‘scam’ to prop up the ailing car industry.

The scrapping process
Scrap cars have been identified as a priority waste stream by the European Union, and are covered by the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive. Implemented in 2005, the directive set targets for 85 per cent of scrap vehicles to be recovered and recycled, rising to 95 per cent by 2015.

First the car is transported to a covered depollution building. The battery is removed for recycling and the airbags deployed. The tyres are removed and sent for retreading, recovery or fuel replacement – tyres are a toxic mix of rubber hydrocarbon, carbon black, oil, sulphur, zinc oxide and other chemicals, including inorganic fillers and organic vulcanisation activators and accelerators.

Hazardous materials – such as mercury switches – are removed and the air conditioning fluid is removed. The vehicle is then connected to a depollution rig to have its fluids pumped out into sealed tanks: petrol, diesel, waste oil, coolant, screen fluid and brake fluid. These are then sent for specialist recycling or disposal. Specified parts can now be removed from the vehicle, including catalytic converters or oil filters, glass, bumpers and other large plastic items – the dismantled parts are sent for specialist recycling or disposal. The metal shell of the car is sent to a shredder for further processing.

Any motorist who takes their vehicle to be scrapped legally will be given a Certificate of Destruction, proving that the car has been destroyed. The ATF will also inform the DVLA that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle.

If you don’t receive one or your car is not being scrapped then you must complete section three – notification of sale or transfer – of your vehicle registration certificate (V5C) and send it to the DVLA, which will return a letter confirming you no longer have responsibility for the car.

Scrapping the car yourself means continuing to tax it or making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). You will need to let the DVLA have one of these every year until you no longer have the car or it is taken to an ATF.

A few suggestions on how to go about it…
First check the company you are asking to scrap your car is registered with the Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Protection Agency and carries an EA Waster Management and Waste Carriers Licence. This will guarantee that they use authorised treatment facilities.

Breaking cars down properly in order to harvest materials and collect waste safely is a long, expensive process, requiring specific equipment and infrastructure. This makes it unlikely, having paid £50 for your knackered motor, that John down the pub will be going through the proper recycling channels.

Doing so will also ensure that all the proper documentation is filled in. The last thing you want is still to be getting parking tickets for the rust bucket you thought long gone – let alone to see it ‘reconditioned’ and back on the road, being driven around by someone who bought it from the unscrupulous scrap merchant you sold it to.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Parliament Passes Legislation To Tackle Auto Theft And Property Crime

OTTAWA, November 5, 2010 - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was pleased today by the passing in Parliament of Bill S-9 the "Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act". Bill S-9 provides tough action on property crime, including the serious crimes of auto theft and trafficking in property that is obtained by crime. The legislation will receive Royal Assent in the coming days.

"Auto theft costs Canadians over $1 billion each year and helps make organized crime profitable," said Minister Nicholson. "Our government has taken strong action to protect the property of Canadians, and ensure our communities are not endangered by the reckless driving which often results from auto theft."

Trafficking in stolen property, along with drug trafficking and fraud, has been identified as a primary activity for organized crime. Auto theft affects many individual Canadians and businesses - whether through financial loss or as a result of reckless behaviour and high-speed chases.

Once this new law comes into force, law enforcement and the courts will have better tools to tackle auto theft and the entire range of activities involved in the trafficking of all types of stolen or fraudulently obtained property. The new legislation includes provisions that:

• create a separate offence of "theft of a motor vehicle", which carries a mandatory prison sentence of 6 months for conviction of a third or subsequent offence when the prosecutor proceeds by indictment;
• establish a new offence for altering, destroying or removing a vehicle identification number (VIN);
• make it an offence to traffic in property obtained by crime; and,
• make it an offence to possess such property for the purpose of trafficking.
In addition, the Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act will allow the Canada Border Services Agency to detain suspected stolen property before it is exported from the country, which will reduce the exportation of stolen vehicles from Canada by organized crime.

"The best way to combat gangs and organized crime is to tackle the illicit activities which make these groups profitable," said Minister Nicholson. "This legislation does just that and will play an important part in our ongoing commitment to the safety and security of communities across Canada."

The Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act will come into force at a time to be determined, in order to allow the provinces and territories time to prepare for the changes.

For an online version of the legislation, visit

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Making the Grade

When it comes to quality, recycled auto parts are top notch.

Recycled auto parts are a great way to save money, help the environment and breathe new life into a vehicle. And with strict protocols in place for automotive recyclers, you can feel confident that the parts you purchase will be reliable. Contrary to popular belief, recycled auto parts aren’t simply removed from a vehicle and sold immediately. Each part is thoroughly inspected before being declared suitable for sale. Each part is also graded according to the Automotive Recyclers Association standards and codes guidelines. Parts are graded as follows:

A = The highest quality part with a minimal amount of damage
B = A second-level quality part with a moderate amount of damage
C = A third-level quality part that, although still usable, exceeds a moderate amount of damage

Auto body parts such as bumpers and doors are graded based on the necessary repair time needed to make the part “clean and undamaged.” For example, a grade “A” part could be a front door with a small ding. A roof with hail damage would get a “B” grade, and a bent tailgate would be considered “C” grade. mechanical parts such as engines, carburetors and transmissions are graded based on mileage per year. For example, an engine with 80,000 kilometres would be considered a grade “A” part, a transmission with 145,000 kilometres would be a “B” grade part, and an engine with 400,000 kilometres would be considered a “C” grade part.

The grading system is reflected in the price of each part. if you have a vehicle thatyou only plan to drive for the next year, a grade “c” part may be a good option as you could be saving upwards of 80% of the original equipment manufacturer’s price. On the other hand, if you have a vehicle that you plan to drive for a few more years, you may want to choose a higher-grade part that you know will last longer. Either way,buying recycled parts will definitely save you money.

And just like when buying new parts, recycled auto parts also come with warranties. “The average industry warranty is about 120 days and is creeping up over time. Plus, over half of our members offer extended warranties of some kind on each part sold,” says Steve Fletcher, Executive Director of the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association. “They’re recognizing that just because you make a sale and the person’s out the door, you still have an obligation to stand behind the part you sell.”

To find an automotive recycling centre near you or to search the online inventory for a specific part, visit

-- CAA Magazine

Monday, October 25, 2010

TrendSetter: Automotive Recyclers of Canada and Managing Director Steve Fletcher

Keeping All Eyes on the Mission

“The Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC), led by Managing Director Steve Fletcher, serves as an inspiration to auto recycling trade associations at every level and throughout the world. ARC leads the way in developing partnerships with related industries, government entities, and the public. Their focus on the future has had tremendous results, with noteworthy accomplishments include the ‘Green Parts’ logo and materials, Code of Practice and training program for auto recyclers, the Canadian Auto Recycler magazine, the ‘Retire Your Ride’ program, and the ‘Switch Out’ mercury recovery program.

“Not only has the ARC association had tremendous results, they also have the talent and vision to promote these programs in a way that shines an international light on the value of professional auto recycling – and that benefits the entire industry.”

– Martha Cowell, Executive Director, State of California Auto Dismantlers Association

Those are high accomplishments for an organization of just 7 members, 8 if you count the Canadian government, but as Steve Fletcher humbly explains, “All the programs that we run come from a desire to collaborate with other people or organizations. We didn’t create them from concept to implementation. We kind of fell into some of these initiatives and are always looking for ways to insert ourselves into the process.”

“Therefore our ideas grow pretty organically,” Fletcher says, “it’s a matter of being at the right place at the right time.”

ARC is different from other industry organizations. Formed in 1997, it is an “association of associations” that serves as a clearinghouse of automotive recycling industry information with the sole purpose of collaborating and working with everyone possible to aid and assist the growth of the industry in Canada. [A full list of the member associations can be found at]

Fletcher also serves in the dual role as the Executive Director of Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA), which he credits to the philosophy of sharing of resources.

“It’s everyone is working together,” says Fletcher, “which allows ARC to stay focused on its mission, and not get side-tracked with the competitive aspects that can hinder some organizations.”

Fletcher’s background in advertising and marketing is apparent in the approach ARC takes. “We promote and make people aware of what we are doing. With a consistent message on what we are trying to convey to people, with every little thing we do, you we add on to our ‘scrapbook,’ and people start noticing as it all grows into bigger things,” says Fletcher.

For instance, he started a Blog ( on automotive recycling “as a way to keep track of all the good things happening, the little successes that make greater successes when they are all pasted together.” As a result of all this good information being released, government agencies are turning more and more to ARC to work with them on projects.

In Canada, the government is more collaborative more so than other countries. For instance, in the British Columbia there is a government-run car insurance program. “Auto recyclers there tend to be more sophisticated, they don’t have to go around and market to a lot of other companies and get noticed. Insurers have to talk to auto recyclers,” Fletcher says. ARC takes the success of programs like this to illustrate how things can be improved in other regions. “We present this program to insurance companies in other regions to show them there is another way to do business.”

“We are just 10 percent of U.S. population and highly fragmented. To a certain extent, if we don’t work together, we won’t have an identity or a business. We cannot dominate so we have to reach consensus,” Fletcher says.

The most well-known initiative is the Green Parts branding program which was conceived by the OARA, and then marketed through the ARC. OARA hired a consultant to generate a marketing concept to “raise the whole industry up,” says Fletcher. “We didn’t think the logo was so spectacular, we had seen it so much, but others said, ‘how can we participate in this.’ OARA could have kept it to themselves, but if they share it, can help everyone. Sharing creates a wider place of influence.”

My role is to “translate what the outside world is saying to automotive recyclers and visa versa,” says Fletcher. “I didn’t come from the auto recycling industry,” says Fletcher, “so I have a different view of things.” This, he says, is an asset to help create a positive perception with the general public. “We want to promote things like Mercury Switch Out and Retire Your Ride programs to the public, both which took about 7 to 9 years of development. We pull switches because it’s the right thing to do and it’s a good story to tell. Retire Your Ride equals public engagement and shows the best of recycling, and it spills over to us.”

Recently, a network of OARA recyclers held a successful tire-recycling event that raised public awareness and generated a $64,000 donation to the Sunshine Foundation of Canada. Other recyclers can do the same, suggests Fletcher, “Create our own event. Send media releases. Also, get to know your politicians and know your local media. Work with your contacts to promote your event and this industry. We believe in top down, bottom up marketing with local buy in from our Members.”

ARC and Fletcher are also very active in the issues going on in the global automotive recycling industry. ARC is hosting the International Roundtable, September 17-19, in Quebec City, Quebec ( “What is noteworthy about this event is that we have invited all the vehicle manufacturers to come and they will be represented either directly or through their associations. This is a first. Their participation is primarily to get perspective on our industry and find commonality.”

What keeps Fletcher going is the “ability to move quickly and to stay focused on the mission of representing professional auto recyclers and the industry. We strive to take advantage of all opportunities to represent the interests of the industry. The mission is most important.”

Reprinted from the Automotive Recyclers Association's Automotive Recycling Magazine, Fall 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

International Roundtable on Automotive Recycling Opening Address

International Roundtable on Automotive Recycling opening address from Joe Rayment on Vimeo.

The National Code: Auto recyclers take the high road

In February of 2009, Retire Your Ride (a government-funded, pro-environmental program) was started with the intention of removing highly polluting cars from the road. Within Ontario, the program allows the driving public to come into federally approved locations to scrap their 1995 or older vehicles to receive a cash reward equal to $300, along with other incentives. So in administering this program, what exactly did participating auto recyclers agree to?

With the creation of this program, a National Code of Practice was put in place. The code itself outlines requirements that must be upheld by all participants of the program, and ultimately sets a standard that shows how we differentiate ourselves from non-ARC (Automotive Recyclers of Canada) members and scrap yards. When establishing what areas must be referred to and covered in the code, it must be noted that auto recyclers themselves played a key role in the development of the National Code of Practice for Environment Canada. With the ARC taking an active role, they were able to make suggestions and proposals as to what they felt were the most important areas for the government to focus in on.

There are guidelines now in place in regards to the administration aspect of the program as well as the procedural obligations. This is to clarify the correct way to process all vehicles that come into the recycling facility. Fundamental steps in the process – such as the extraction of Freon and the removal of mercury switches and batteries from the vehicles – are key in the overall success of accomplishing the main goal: the green initiative.

Now that Retire Your Ride has been running for some time, as auto recyclers we have been able to learn and expand on many of our own practices. This ensures the regulations and standards are being both met and exceeded. It has become clear that more efficient procedures have been put in place as a result of this new initiative. Our front-line staff all took part in online and classroom training ranging from the administration of the program to the emergency spill remediation plans. These were completed as required and as a result employees were better educated and response times improved for important environmental elements of the program.

Intangibles such as workplace safety was one area in which we were able to make improvements because actions were being taken to ensure the requirements of the code were being fulfilled.

With being as environmentally friendly as possible as one of the main priorities, the program allows its auto recyclers to take the initiative a step further. In addition to reducing the amount of toxic emissions released into the air, auto recyclers further the green initiative by reusing non-emission-forming parts off the vehicles as opposed to merely scrapping them.
Precautionary measures such as the elimination of all potential sources of pollution from the vehicles are taken to ensure that we mitigate potential hazards to the environment.

Professional auto recyclers are the driving force behind the processing of the vehicles brought in by the program, and it is nice to finally be recognized as a significant contributor to the work being done toward accomplishing the cause.

The journey in running this program thus far has been a positive experience. We’ve all taken significant steps to achieving the greatest feasible impact on making the auto recycling industry as green as possible. Implementing the code of practice in our respective businesses is not only making a positive impact on the daily procedures and standards, but on the overall green initiative at hand.

Thank you to all those involved in the creation and implementation of this program. We look forward to other successful green initiatives in the future.

David Gold is the co-owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, an auto recycling facility with locations in Toronto, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York. He can be reached by phone at 416-286-8686 or via e-mail at, or you can view the company web site at

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Auto recyclers from around the world gather in Québec City for the International Roundtable on Auto Recycling

Québec City, Quebec--September 29, 2010--It started as a simple forum--an exchange of ideas and discussion of what the auto recycling industry could do to improve the business.

Currently, in its 5th year of succession, the International Roundtable on Auto Recycling--IRT for short--has become a global phenomenon, uniting leaders and scholars in auto recycling, insurance, repairs and government in one forum over the course of a few days.

This year, the Auto Recyclers of Canada (ARC) played host to the IRT in Québec City. Representatives from Canada, US, Japan, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, and Malaysia met from September 19-21, 2010 to discuss the issues and challenges affecting the world-wide industry.

The three-day event began on a high note, sparking new friendships and networking opportunities and facility tours at Pièces D’autos Dumont Inc., a family-run business who also hosted the ARPAC convention the same week; Lecavalier Auto Parts, one of the oldest auto recycling facilities in Canada and a second-generation family business; and LKQ Pintendre Autos Inc., one of Canada's largest auto recycling facilities.

Each of the host facilities provided food and refreshments for the visitors with Pièces D’autos Dumont serving a delicious breakfast, Lecavalier serving hors d'oeuvres and locally made ice wine, and LKQ finishing off tours with a roast beef lunch.

The day continued back at Hotel Plaza Québec with a social mixer, followed by a good night's rest in preparation for the the next day's jam-packed schedule.

Day two consisted of global presentations and country and association reports. It began with an opening message from Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association executive director (OARA) and ARC managing director Steve Fletcher, who also acted as the discussion moderator and host.

Ed MacDonald, ARC chairman, formally welcomed the group in the dialectics of each of the visiting countries. He also challenged the group.

“The task of this meeting is for everyone to gain a world understanding of automotive recycling,” MacDonald said.

During the association and country reports, speakers presented snapshots of the successes and challenges auto recycling has seen their regions recently.

Automotive Recyclers' Association (ARA) executive vice president Michael Wilson discussed US recyclers' experience with the Cash for Clunkers program, which the American government instated in 2008 to try to stimulate the automotive industry. "Most of the vehicles hit the doors last September," Wilson said. "ARA received a lot mileage from the program and free media helped spread the word on the initiative."

The program wasn't flawless, however. It's primary intent was to stimulate auto sales; many government elements didn't take the recyclers into account.

As the conversations continued, Canada's Retire Your Ride emerged as a better model due to the government consultation with automotive recyclers, its more modest scope and cooperation with OEMs.

Kasper Zom, senior consultant to Auto Recycling Netherlands (ARN), discussed the evolution of vehicle recycling and extended producer responsibility in the Netherlands, as well as what practices they've found useful in raising auto recycling awareness.

“The most important incentive to handing in a car in the Netherlands is the ownership tax," Zom said. "When you go to a recycling shop, they will de-register your car for you and you will not have to pay taxes on it anymore.”

During the Japan Automotive Recyclers Association presentation, director of automotive environmental analysis Minoru Goko proposed the idea of marketing recycled parts with a points system of CO2 rates. The CO2 reduction rate of recycled parts is lower and therefore, better for the environment than the rate of new OEM parts.

Recycled steel from end-of-life vehicles is also better than iron stone from the steel manufacturer process.

"I hope the CO2 reduction rate of recycled parts gets spearheaded by the IRT network as an international standard for all recyclers in the world as green parts for a greener world,” Goko said.
In Malaysia, the import of used automotive parts and components will be prohibited starting June 2011, which will put Malaysian automotive recyclers in serious trouble.

"MAARA is vigorously promoting membership amongst the industry," said Malaysia Automotive Recyclers Association president Gwee Bok Wee said. "We look forward to any support and assistance any associations have to offer. We are in the process of preparing a proposal to be submitted to the International Trade and Industry Ministry in Malaysia to reconsider their national automotive policy."

Mexico, who are currently in the preliminary stages of creating an end-of-life management plan, have enlisted the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“Some of the problems we have encountered already are insufficient confirmation on treatment of ELVs [end-of-life vehicles] and shredders don’t receive sufficient ELV metal scrap from ELV dismantling sites due to a lack of reliable relationship,” said JICA's Kazunori Kitagawa.

Kitagawa used the IRT as an opportunity to seek input from the world's established automotive recycling associations--many of whom had offered their continued support by the conference's end.

After another full day of information, attendees were invited to relax and enjoy each others' company during a dine-around dinner tour. It was a feast for the eyes and mouth. Groups of three toured through old Québec, stopping to enjoy their appetizers, entrées and desserts at a different restaurant for each course.

Day three of the IRT conference was the last day of the conference and the official roundtable discussion.

The general consensus was that more channels of communications were necessary to share international knowledge and information among the associations as well as with the public.

“We are generating a number of resources that will come out of this event,” Steve Fletcher said. “We are committed to issuing a CD of some the resource materials and some of the speeches. My goal is to get that to all of the associations and for the delegates as well.”

The group agreed to share the Green Parts name and logo, which are owned by OARA and ARPAC. Representatives from the ARA volunteered to share their knowledge on trademarking to help the various regions navigate the some times complicated terrain of establishing the name and logo.

All members of the discussion agreed that having an internationally recognized brand would be beneficial to the selling recycled parts' environmental merits.

Finally, Kasper Zom put the Netherlands' name in to host the next IRT in approximately 18 months (which, he cautioned, would be pending approval from the association). Both the ARA and the MAARA also put their names in to host future IRTs.

"These meetings are very good for networking," said David Nolan, who was representing the Auto Recylers Association of Australia. "I learned a lot, especially during the tours of the facilities--it was really interesting to see how they work with the insurance companies."

Nolan was particularly interested in the conversations surrounding the implementation of the US Cash for Clunkers program. Australia is getting ready to establish its own program to take older vehicles off the road. "It was clear that the US government had not thought [Cash for Clunkers] out...Obviously we're going to work with the Aussie industry to make sure all the problems are ironed out before it's implemented."

AADCO Auto Parts' Don Fraser was similarly delighted with how much he learned during the three-day conference. "This was the first IRT I have been to, so I went in with high expectations," Fraser said. "All of my expectations were met due to the hard work put in by Steve and the ARC board. The Sunday yard tours were great...Even the discussions on the bus were enlightening," he continued.

"Monday was packed with speakers, but every one had there time and made the most of it with informative topics."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Auto Recycling Fluid Options

Options available to auto recyclers who need to drain and properly handle a variety of fluids have increased noticeably.

The relationship between auto salvage operators and the automotive fluids drained from the vehicles they acquire has changed significantly in the past two decades.

Much of what has been happening in the past few years can be matched with similar examples of what happens when a material or substance shifts from being a waste to a secondary commodity.

For many veterans of the auto salvage and dismantling industry, it can be difficult to think of the transmission fluid or gasoline drained as anything but waste.

However, thanks to oil prices with a rising moving average and a growing infrastructure of entrepreneurs collecting fluids for recycling, many salvage companies are treating their recovered fluids with new-found respect.

For health and safety reasons, auto dismantlers have long been draining and separating the fluids that come along for the ride when they purchase an end-of-life vehicle.

What they do with those fluids became subject to greater scrutiny in 1980, when the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) was enacted as law. Part of this legislation (often referred to as Superfund) addressed the release into the air, water or ground of even small amounts of substances common to salvage operations.

Motor oil, other automotive system fluids, lead-acid batteries and cleaning fluids used by dismantlers were among the things with the potential to be labeled as hazardous waste if not properly handled.

For many of the fluids, recycling markets have developed in synch with the willingness of dismantlers to store spent fluids in segregated tanks and drums and the rising cost of oil per barrel.

Petroleum-based fluids have enjoyed the most recycling attention, especially as the per-barrel cost of crude oil has escalated in the face of surging global demand for oil.

A multi-layered used oil market has developed in many regions. In California, the oil recycling market is described by the Automotive Recycling Association (ARA) ECAR website this way (

Used Oil Transporters: Companies that pick up used oil from all sources and deliver it to re-refiners, processors or burners.

Used Oil Re-refiners and Processors: Facilities that blend or remove impurities from used oil so that the oil can be burned for energy recovery or re-used. Included in this category are re-refiners who process used oil so that it can be re-used in a new product such as a lubricant and recycled repeatedly.

Used Oil Burners: Used oil is burned in boilers, industrial furnaces or hazardous waste incinerators for energy recovery.

Used Oil Marketers: Handlers who either a.) direct shipments of used oil to be burned as fuel in regulated devices or b.) claim that certain EPA specifications are met for used oil to be burned for energy recovery in devices that are not regulated.

The market for used oil has changed quickly enough that many companies in the market have had difficulty adjusting to the change, according to Brant Long, general manager of Lamb Fuels, Chula Vista, Calif.

Lamb Fuels collects and recycles not motor oil but rather the gasoline or diesel fluid drained from end-of-life vehicles. It is a segment of the fluid recycling market that has developed even more recently and rapidly than the engine oil market.

“We’ve got clients who have gone from paying to dispose of this as an expense to either being in a net zero situation or even to developing a significant revenue stream,” says Long. “Some of our potential customers just don’t believe it because of the way things had been done for so long. It’s a struggle to get some of them to change.”

Lamb Fuels works with a customer base that includes large used auto parts chains with large vehicle inventories, smaller dismantlers with one location and companies and facilities outside of the auto salvage sector, such as airports, railroads and vehicle fleet terminals.

The company’s customers store their drained gasoline in tanks that can hold as much as 500 or even 4,000 gallons of fuel.

Lamb Fuels’ 8,000-gallon tanker trucks arrive and first test and sample the drained fuel. Fuel that passes this test is pumped into the tankers and arrives at a Lamb Fuels facility for what Long calls a “long-term filtration process.”

This recovered and filtered gasoline or diesel fuel can then be blended with compatible new fuel and delivered to end users such as fleet terminals or in the retail sector. “At this point, it passes all tests for retail sale,” says Long.

Among the surprises that have been revealed in this emerging market is the amount of gasoline that can be recovered within the auto salvage sector. “We find an average of 4 gallons of gasoline per [salvaged] vehicle,” Long says of the studies Lamb Fuels has conducted.

Thus, larger salvage facilities that maintain an influx of 50 to 100 cars purchased per day can quickly fill up even a large tank, notes Long. In the case of one customer, Lamb Fuels has installed sensors in this company’s gasoline storage tanks so Lamb’s dispatch center will know when the time is right to send one of its 8,000-gallon tanker trucks to that location.

The model has been a winning one for Lamb Fuels, which has grown steadily in the past six years, adding storage and filtration facilities in several locations well beyond Southern California.

Long says the company will locate a facility in regions where its larger customers are doing business, helping to ensure a supply of product and also earning goodwill with its customers.

The combination of regulations and market opportunities available has provided an opportunity for equipment suppliers to step in with systems to efficiently drain, collect and store fluids.

Iron Ax, Wadley, Ga., has been offering its EnviroRack system for several years and has sold about 150 of the units to customers, according to company president Charlie Hall.

“We developed it because we saw the need in the industry to safely drain these fluids out of automobiles,” says Hall.

With vehicles lifted onto the EnviroRack, the force of gravity drains fluids quickly into a waiting funnel, says Hall (with a little help from a small vacuum in the case of brake fluid).

Hall estimates that one person can drain the fluids from a vehicle in from one to three minutes using the EnviroRack, “depending on how much gas or other fluid is in [the vehicle].”

Iron Ax makes the EnviroRack to be portable enough to be towed on a flatbed or even a rolloff truck, so portable car crushing firms can bring the system with them.

Other EnviroRacks stay in place at dismantling yards, such as the very first one sold to a customer in Michigan. Hall recalls that the Michigan customer received a visit from a state inspector not long after installing the system. “That inspector walked around the rack and said it was the nicest thing he’d ever seen and that he was proud the recycler was trying to do the right thing by the environment,” says Hall.

Other companies offering automotive fluid drainage and storage systems include Austria’s SEDA Environmental; United Kingdom-based Vortex Depollution Systems, with an office in Aurora, Colo.; Drain Tech products, which are developed and marketed by Foss Auto Salvage, LaGrange, N.C.; and W.E.N. Industries, Merrimack, N.H., the makers of Gas Buggy fluid transfer units.

Prices paid for spent oils or drained gasoline are subject to the same volatility of every other secondary commodity that auto recyclers or scrap dealers might encounter.

Potentially, however, investments made in several links of the automotive fluids supply chain during this decade—collecting, storing and either combusting or re-refining the fluids will be sufficient to have led to an established market.

by Brian Taylor, editor-in-chief of Recycling Today Magazine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Retire Your Ride Drives Participation for Last 6 Months of Program

Canada's National Vehicle Recycling Program hosts event to encourage Ontarians to act now

Two massive pieces of art were constructed from retired vehicles and old-fashioned human, green power today in the middle of Metro Hall as Retire Your Ride used Car Free Day to highlight the benefits of sustainable transportation and to call attention to the program. The event was also a reminder that there are only six months left to participate in Retire Your Ride, as March 31, 2011 marks the last day that Ontarians can be rewarded for retiring their 1995 model year or older vehicles.

In addition to local artists creating art out of old cars, the event also showcased BMX stunt riders, strongmen pulling retired cars across the Square, event attendees decorating a retired vehicle and a charitable donation by the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association presented to Pollution Probe's Clean Air Commute, CultureLink and Toronto Cyclists Union's Integration & Sustainable Transportation Partnership and Green Communities Canada's Ontario Walkolution. On top of that, a disc jockey entertained the crowd with car themed music and attendees were treated to a free lunch.

"Retire Your Ride has seen tremendous success to date, responsibly recycling over 38,000 vehicles in Ontario alone," said Rebecca Spring, program manager at Summerhill Impact, Ontario delivery agent for Retire Your Ride. "With only six months left in the program, Ontarians with 1995 model year and older vehicles need to act now in order to take advantage of the program and be rewarded for responsibly retiring their vehicles."

Retire Your Ride, ending on March 31, 2011, aims to reduce smog-forming emissions, ensure vehicles are responsibly recycled and encourage the use of sustainable transportation. Since its launch in January 2009, Retire Your Ride has taken more than 94,000 vehicles off the road nationally, reducing smog-forming emissions by over 5,000 tonnes.

Ontarians who own a 1995 model year or older vehicle and choose to take part in Retire Your Ride can be rewarded with one of a number of rewards available to program participants, including:

Bicycles - A discount of $350 to $490 off of a high-end commuter bicycle as well as up to 15 per cent off parts and services;

Transit Passes - Free transit passes in select municipalities;

Car Share - Discounts off car share rates and memberships in select municipalities
Electric Transportation - A discount of $450 on the purchase of an ebike or a complete conversion kit;

Manufacturer supported rebates are also available from Chrysler, Hyundai, Ford and GM
Cash - $300 cash;

"The time is now for Ontarians to make the switch to more sustainable modes of transportation," continued Spring. "Until March 31, 2011, Canadians will be offered incentives for retiring their 1995 model year and older vehicles and can ensure their cars are responsibly recycled."

If not handled properly, scrapped vehicles can damage the environment. Through the Retire Your Ride program, vehicle materials are removed, re-used or responsibly disposed of. Retire Your Ride's participating auto recyclers follow a National Code of Practice and ensure that materials such as oil, gasoline, refrigerants, mercury switches, wheels and tires are removed from vehicles prior to scrappage in order to protect our air, water and land.

In June 2008, the Government of Canada committed up to $92 million over four years to the Retire Your Ride program to help Canadians recycle their older, higher polluting vehicles and make sustainable transportation choices, leading to reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Retire Your Ride is a national program designed to effectively and efficiently retire 1995 model year or older vehicles in an environmentally responsible manner, in an effort to improve air quality and encourage the use of sustainable transportation. The Retire Your Ride program is delivered nationally by Summerhill Impact, funded by the Government of Canada and supported by a network of experienced regional delivery agents across the country, as well as a national network of automotive recyclers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Increased recycling of auto parts focus of engineering researcher

Human beings have little understanding of what happens in their afterlife. The same might be said for their automobiles.~

“It’s the end-of-life which we least understand,” said Susan Sawyer-Beaulieu, a post-doctoral fellow in Edwin Tam’s civil and environmental engineering lab who devoted the past seven years of her life researching what happens to our cars after they’re sent to auto recyclers and scrap yards. “The general public really doesn’t understand what a sophisticated industry it really is.”

With funding from the AUTO21 network, Dr. Sawyer-Beaulieu recently completed her PhD and the focus of her thesis was to conduct a meticulously compiled automotive life-cycle inventory assessment of just what goes into an auto dismantler’s facility, what gets recycled and re-used and what goes through the shredder, and ultimately, to the landfill.

She worked with auto dismantlers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario, some of whom process as many as 17,000 vehicles a year and discovered that as much as 12 percent of re-usable, re-manufacturable and recyclable vehicle parts and materials are recovered by dismantlers prior to shipping the leftover hulks to the shredder for metals recovery.

“After recovering recyclable shredded metals, the shredder residue that comes out at the end of the process still contains materials that could potentially be recycled if they can be recovered after the vehicle is dismantled,” she said.

It’s her hope that more automotive jobs could be created if there is increased emphasis on trying to recover, re-use, re-manufacture and recycle the parts and materials from cars that go to scrap yards, which could have lasting environmental benefits for future generations. But before that can happen, auto dismantlers will need to be more aware of what could be recovered for recycling and convinced there’s a market for those parts and materials so that salvaging them makes good business sense.

“It’s a very well-structured industry,” she said of the dismantling business. “They’re very good at keeping track of what they have, but not so good measuring how much of the vehicle they actually recover. The more we understand about the dismantling phase, I think we’ll be better able to find ways to make the process more efficient.”

Sawyer-Beaulieu will continue her research with the help of a $70,000 grant from the MITACS' Elevate program, which provides Ontario PhD graduates the opportunity to gain research experience in areas of industrial and societal importance while working on a collaborative research project with Ontario companies.

"There is an opportunity to develop an industry in Windsor and Detroit, which have always been automotive manufacturing leaders in North America and maybe there could be opportunities to make them a leader in automotive recycling."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

As 'New' Original Manufacturer Parts Use Declines, Auto Companies Attack Quality Alternatives

Consumers and environment harmed by groundless attack on recycled automotive parts.

As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, original equipment parts manufacturers, faced with declining sales, will aimlessly attack quality parts alternatives. The latest campaign comes from Hyundai Motor America, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. In a July 2010 press release, Hyundai proclaims, "Hyundai does not support the use or re-use of components removed or recycled from an existing collision-damaged vehicle." Thus, one can infer from their statement that Hyundai does not support the repair and subsequent use back on the road of any vehicle that has been involved in a prior collision.

Unfortunately, automakers and "new" original equipment manufacturers (OEM) have a long history of erecting barriers to further their substantial hold on the vehicle parts replacement market. From withholding essential Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) information on the parts compatibility of various vehicle makes, models and years to the full court negative press campaign on the integrity of recycled parts, automakers stand as a road block to a more robust auto parts recycling network.

According to the most recent Mitchell Repair Collision Data, OEM parts represented "67.9% of all parts dollars specified by Mitchell-equipped estimators. This is yet another decline from previous quarters and reflects a continuing trend." The steady movement away from new OEM parts has occurred as consumers and the collision repair industry become better educated on the quality part alternatives that are in the marketplace. To put into prospective this trend, the new OEM parts usage for the same report was 74.4% as recently as the second quarter of 2008.
At present, recycled auto parts are competing against a new OEM auto parts industry that command huge marketing and institutional advantages in the collision and mechanical auto repair markets. However, educated consumers embrace "recycled" auto parts usage because of the benefits to the environment along with their substantial consumer savings in reduced repair costs and lower insurance premiums. Not to mention, these quality "green" auto parts meet the performance, safety, fit and durability standards of the new OEM.

Furthermore, Hyundai and countless other automakers tout the quality of their own pre-owned vehicles that contain thousands of used parts. For instance, Hyundai's website markets its own certified pre-owned vehicle program as a "practical choice" and one that "accomplishes the goals of the value-conscious consumer".

Evoking a famous line by comedian George Carlin, "If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten." Regrettably, auto manufacturers are "hammering" their own parts and needlessly trashing the very principles industry founders such as Henry Ford and Ransom Olds pioneered -- interchangeable parts. These manufacturers "safety" campaigns are self serving and hypocritical especially when one takes into account that, last year alone, auto manufacturers had to recall some 16.4 million vehicles.

Misleading the American consumer about green auto recycled parts also has serious environmental consequences. Reuse is the most efficient form of recycling. It uses again an existing resource and saves all the original resources and energy that would have to go into making that new part. The carbon dioxide reductions for each recycled part reused is substantial. However, millions of potentially "green" recycled parts remain unused in today's motor vehicle repair economy wasting millions of countless natural resources in the process.

"One would think that automakers that continue to try to promote themselves as being 'green' would have a more progressive view of recycled OEM parts use," says Automotive Recyclers Association's (ARA) Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Wilson. Wilson added, "The recovery, reuse, and resale of quality recycled parts must remain readily available to consumers, who may not want or be able to financially afford 'new' OEM parts, and require access to these alternative part choice for their vehicle repairs."

Since 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association ("ARA") represents an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of "green" automotive parts, and the proper recycling of inoperable motor vehicles. ARA represents over 4,500 auto recycling facilities in the United States and fourteen other countries around the world. With programs such as the Certified Automotive Recycler Program (CAR) and other partnerships, ARA members continue to provide consumers with quality, low-cost alternatives for vehicle replacement parts, while preserving our environment for a "greener" tomorrow.

To learn more about the Association, visit ARA's home page at or call (571) 208-0428.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grant funds research into recycling of vehicles

Recent University of Windsor PhD graduate Susan Sawyer-Beaulieu may now apply her well-honed research skills locally thanks to a grant from Canadian-based company MITACS.

Sawyer-Beaulieu, 55, received a grant of $70,000 as part of MITACS' Elevate program, which provides Ontario PhD graduates the opportunity to gain research experience in areas of industrial and societal importance while working on a collaborative research project with Ontario companies.

With the help of the grant, Sawyer-Beaulieu will be able to extend her PhD research of end-of-life vehicle recyclability in partnership with the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association.

"There's been a real push to become green and make the vehicles more environmentally friendly but a lot of the initiatives have always been on the manufacturing phase or the use phase and very little done at the end of life phase," said Sawyer-Beaulieu, who has her PhD in environmental engineering.

"There is an opportunity to develop an industry in Windsor and Detroit, which have always been automotive manufacturing leaders in North America and maybe there could be opportunities to make them a leader in automotive recycling."

The grant was announced last week and Sawyer-Beaulieu shares a pool of $9.95 million with 80 Ontario PhD students from Ontario universities.

"At the end of the day we need our society to be more innovative, productive and more competitive and the question is 'how to do that?'" said Arvind Gupta, scientific director for MITACS.

"I think we haven't fully leveraged the quality of innovation that's happening at our universities to build an innovative society and that's what the funding ... is about and that's what my passion is about overall."

Gupta said per capita, Ontario universities have twice as many leading research universities than the U.S., "so clearly our universities are innovation leaders around the world by every measure."

However, Gupta said there is a retention issue with PhD graduates and many are seeking job opportunities in other countries.

"We just don't have many PhDs in our society anymore and we have to have a public debate about that and think what we can do in Canada to create a place for our PhDs to go and stay here and work here," Gupta said.

"Look at what the car industry did in California. They took a piece of the car industry that requires real knowledge, sort of brain over brawn and they have been very successful in the design and alternative fuelled industry."

"If we can become the place where smart things happen then there's no reason why industries like the car industry wouldn't create jobs here."


Million cars are scrapped illegally

Illegal scrapyards that fail to stick to the rules about removing pollutants from vehicles are making a mint from disposing of up to a million old bangers a year, an investigation by Metro and Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies has revealed.

The cowboy dealers are taking advantage of the rocketing price of scrap metal in the rapidly growing economies of India and China. In ten years, its value has soared from £6 to £200 a tonne.

Merchants are eager to cash in, but they are not so keen on making sure a car is disposed of cleanly - preventing its oil and other chemicals from seeping into the land.

One in every ten tonnes of hazardous waste in the European Union is believed to come from motor vehicles.

Under EU law, 'depollution' must be completed by all legitimate scrap merchants. They must also make sure that 85 per cent of scrapped cars are recycled.

It's an expensive business and backstreet merchants are getting around it by getting car owners to tick a box on their vehicle papers claiming they scrapped it themselves, says MEP Chris Davies.

He fears many drivers don't know what they're getting themselves into.

When they tick the box, they are claiming they have safely taken apart the vehicle bit by bit in line with EU regulations - a job that is beyond many mechanics. Legitimate businesses say they are being pushed to the brink of closure by the cowboys. Andy Kenny, of the End of Life Vehicle Recyclers Association, says authorised dealers are losing £200million a year - half the industry's value - to illegal merchants.

The government's own estimates say only 900,000 of the 2million cars scrapped this year will have a certificate to prove they were disposed of legally.

by John Higginson,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Time called on cowboy car scrap dealers

Time is being called on the activities of Rochdale cowboy car scrap dealers.

A loophole in vehicle licensing rules that has allowed millions of cars to be scrapped but not deregistered is to be closed after a campaign by Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Chris Davies.

Environmentalists claim that it has led to thousands of tonnes of oil and brake fluid being poured down drains, while millions of old tyres have ended up dumped on wasteland or in the countryside.

The loophole allows owners of old bangers to claim that they are scrapping the cars themselves.

It has been exploited by rogue scrap dealers who use it to avoid paying to meet the depollution requirements of EU end-of-life vehicles legislation introduced 10 years ago.

Now the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea is to start the issue of revised V5C registration forms.

Mr Davies has been working for four years with operators of licensed waste treatment facilities to get the changes made and environmental standards improved.

He said: “The figures suggest that up to a million cars have been taken apart and scrapped on peoples’ driveways in the last 5 years. This is clearly absurd, but it’s been an uphill task to persuade the DVLA to make the changes required.

“Rogue scrap dealers advertising for old cars need to be put of business. They are not paying tax, they harm the environment, and they undercut legitimate vehicle dismantlers.”

However, the DVLA claims that it will take at least two years to issue new registration documents to every car owner and that could mean another 300,000 to 400,000 cars slipping through the net.

Mr Davies, who will shortly meet with new Business Minister Mark Prisk to discuss the issue, wants owners of every car destined for the breaker’s yard to be told that they should insist now that scrap dealers supply them with a key document.

He said: “A Certificate of Destruction is essential. It ensures that the car is deregistered and properly depolluted.”

Mr Davies says that DVLA procedures have until now failed to ensure that vehicles are deregistered even when they have in fact been dismantled. He warns that if a car taken for scrapping is in fact put back on the road by a rogue trader, the original owner will unknowingly retain responsibility if it is involved in an accident.

“The EU end-of-life directive is a good environment law intended to ensure that the millions of cars disposed of each year are treated properly. The time is long overdue for Britain to apply it across the board.”

Andy Kenny, spokesman for the End of Life Vehicle Recyclers Association said, “Cowboy dealers with a mobile phone and a van have been undercutting legitimate businesses for years with the help of the DVLA.

“Chris Davies has worked with us to slam the door on the people who dump tyres in laybys and pour poisons down the drain.

“There have been many false dawns on this issue and I hope that this time the DVLA will stick to its guns.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

UK - Latest figures show ELV target still a challenge

The department for business, innovation and skills has admitted the target set by the European Union for it to recycle, recovery or reuse 85% of end-of-life vehicles is a "real challenge", after issuing figures revealing that the UK again narrowly missed the goal in 2008.

While the 84.98% figure for 2008 means the UK practically met the target and has continued to improve its performance, it also means that the rate increased by less than 2% over a three-year period, with an 84.23% rate achieved in 2007 and 83.53% recorded in 2006.

Both the quantity and percentage of vehicles treated within the ELV system increased in 2008, but was still short of European targets

The data, which was submitted by the department for business, innovation and skills (BIS) to the European Commission on June 30 2010, reveals that 1,210,294 ELVs were recovered in 2008 - 71,798 more than was the case in 2007 - with a total weight of 1,175,195 tonnes.

And, despite the rate remaining below 85%, a spokeswoman for BIS was positive about the figures for 2008, telling "BIS considers that good progress has been made, with a significant increase in the number of vehicles reported in 2008 than in 2007, as well as an increase in the tonnage of material recovered above and beyond the percentage achieved in 2007."

The department noted that, based purely on the reuse, recycling and recovery rate prescribed by the Commission, the UK actually only achieved an 84% rate in 2008, but it explained that, as in previous years, it had included fuel recovery to record the 84.98% figure - something which is the subject of an "outstanding query" with the Commission.

Traditionally, efforts to increase ELV recycling rates have been hampered by the difficulty in recovering the non-metallic 25% of a car that is left after an ELV is shredded. Concerns have been expressed in the past that the UK lacks post-shredder capacity to recovery plastics, glass and other non-metal components.

The size of the task was acknowledged by the BIS spokeswoman, who labelled the 85% target a "real challenge", explaining that the activities undertaken by vehicle dismantlers, or Authorised Treatment Facilities, were generally not enough to reach an 85% goal and as such further separation of materials post-shredding was "critical".

She claimed that shredders were continuing to invest "significantly" in recovering post-shredder residue and sending less material to landfill, explaining that: "Glass is now routinely recycled and an increasing focus is being placed on plastics. As these technologies come to the fore, more capacity will become available, which has already grown strongly year-on-year."
Among the most high-profile movers to address the post-shredder, or automotive shredder, residue issue has been the metals recycling giant EMR, which has put forward proposals in the past 12 months to build two large scale facilities - on Merseyside and in the West Midlands - specifically aimed at dealing with the waste stream.

The significance of the issue also prompted the British Metals Recycling Association to issue a call in November 2009 for the government to introduce a landfill tax relief scheme to encourage metals recyclers to invest in the technology needed to increase ELV recovery rates.

The announcements made by companies developing shredder residue separation technologies were welcomed by BIS, which added that it "continues to engage closely with all parties involved in the ELV chain and has been encouraging obligated parties and service providers to increase reuse, recovery and recycling in recognition of the growing challenge ahead".
Related links
The 85% recovery goal currently in place could potentially increase to 95% from 2015, although this is subject to review by the European Commission.

It is understood that a number of other EU countries have, in the past, also fallen short of the 85% target, and the European Commission has taken no formal action against the UK for failing to reach the goal, although the spokeswoman did reveal that the UK had responded "some time ago" to an informal request from the Commission over its performance in 2006.

By Nick Mann,§ion=legislation

Friday, August 06, 2010

State Farm seminars preach value of recycled parts

Today's salvage parts facility is not your father's junkyard, or even your older brother's boneyard. In just a few short years the used-component industry has become increasingly sophisticated and is a significant sourcing alternative for collision repairers.

In New Jersey, body shop owners belonging to State Farm's direct repair program (DRP) have been attending a series of educational sessions to learn more about the recycled parts process. The insurer's classes are held in locations accessible to the upper, middle and lower portions of the Garden State.

This year's seminars attracted 120 attendees representing 98 of State Farm's 113 New Jersey DRPs, known as Select Service Shops.

"People think of salvage yards as junkyards, and that's not the case," says State Farm Auto Estimatics Inspector Pete Fryzel. "The reason to bring everybody together is to not forget the role that recycled parts can play in the repair – people have been using recycled parts since Henry Ford."

Vehicle owners who are inclined to think green are intrigued with the concept as well.

"Using recycled parts helps reduce costs, expedites repairs in many cases, and helps reduce our carbon footprint," Fryzel says. The educational sessions "brought to light a lot of the issues around recycled parts," such as condition, shipping and return policies.

The program included I-CAR materials along with three New Jersey members of the Premium Recycled Parts Group (PRP), which is a collaboration of 17 salvage operations.

"They are a very sophisticated group," says Fryzel, "who comply with a high set of standards and focus on quality recycled parts. We advocate the shops use the PRP group because we know they're good, they price their parts correctly, their recycled parts are quality and their delivery is prompt."

According to I-CAR figures, 75 percent of the vehicles going into salvage are recyclable in some way; 75 percent of the parts do indeed get reused, 20 percent are recycled as raw materials and 5 percent are destined to be buried underground. "The goal is to reduce the amount of parts going into the landfill," Fryzel notes, adding that it is also "one of the responsibilities we have to keep costs under control."

Estimatics Team Manager Vincent Castaldo says using recycled parts is well within the realm of the "State Farm satisfaction promise to the policyholders for fit, corrosion resistance qualities, and performance for as long as the customer owns the vehicle."

"We're all concerned with the cost of repairs for our mutual customer," says Fryzel. "If our repair costs go up, premiums can potentially follow."

The salvage parts trade is the nation's 13th largest industry, amounting to $10 billion in annual sales – much of them coming from the collision repair segment. Instant messaging has greatly enhanced connectivity among the yards and their customers, Fryzel says.

"Everybody's on the same page," says seminar attendee Michael Gerstein, owner of Circle Collision Center in Old Bridge, N.J. "The key is to have a strong network to reach out to the other places in the blink of an eye. You don't want to wait a couple of days for information on your parts – you want someone to say, 'I'll get back to you in a couple of minutes.'"

"The quality (of the used parts industry) is better than it’s been in years," Gerstein continues. "It's really tremendous. If I want to see something they can get me a picture (of the part) in minutes."

Circle's customers are equally enamored because "they understand 'green,'" he says. "They want quality parts – not aftermarket parts."

Flemington Auto Body was one of the first shops in its area to make the switch to waterborne paint, and pushing the ecological aspect of salvage components – along with the associated cost savings – is among the operation's marketing plans, according to office manager Scott Shepherd.

"It's coming full-circle now, especially with this oil spill," he points out, referring to heightened customer interest in the issue. "The recycled parts are helping the environment because they're being reused."

Shepherd says that while aftermarket parts typically still lack consistency in fit, form and function, "recycled parts are OEM – it's the same thing."

Imparted at the seminars was the fact that customers need not fear that their late model vehicle will return from the shop outfitted with leftovers from a 1964 Falcon. "Your car is three years old, so it has three-year-old parts on it," says Shepherd, adding that "a lot of the recycled stuff has driven down the OE prices" for new components.

"They're really brought the recycled industry around. Within the last five years they've really gotten their act together," he says.

In the past, ordering from salvage yards "created a lot of problems and it was not something that we really wanted to do," Shepherd recalls, noting that Flemington's cycle times are now equal whether OEM or recycled parts are applied. "It's working a lot smoother now."

Providing prompt and accurate information is a particularly admirable aspect of today's recycler, according to Shepherd. "It's critical to know the condition of the part ahead of time, and they'll be honest about it instead of saying, 'We'll wait and see.'"

Citing a past incident in which a previously pristine hood arrived in a seriously bent state, Shepherd praises the refinements being made in the delivery process. "They've gotten so much better at handling the parts; they're taking better care of them and they've got the proper equipment to deliver them."

As a recent example of appreciated customer service, Shepherd tells of how a recycler brought over an entire front portion of a matching car being worked on and then removed the carcass when the job was done. "There are all kinds of crazy clips and fasteners on these things, and to have the whole nose sitting next to you is a nice way to do it."

By James E. Guyette,

Friday, July 16, 2010

Interchange: The Recycler Language We're Speaking

Like a lot of columns, this one started with a question: is there a better way for auto recyclers to inventory parts? Can we tie our system more closely to OEM numbers? And like the best questions, the answer surprised me. I’m sure there is room for improvement, but, especially compared to some international markets, we have it pretty good.

The numbering system for the auto recycling industry is derived from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) number. It’s the basis for what is universally known as “Interchange.” While we do not speak the same numerical language as collision repairers, all stake holders in our collective industry are fortunate to have a common platform by which we can all operate.

This common platform is written and owned by Hollander, a Solera company out of Plymouth, Minnesota. The Hollander Interchange allows all auto recyclers to inventory and categorize assemblies rather than all of the components that make up an assembly. For example, auto recyclers inventory and stock a vehicle’s door as an “assembly” in that the door’s internal hardware, moulding, handle and window are part in parcel of what the customer can expect to receive. In the manufacturer’s concept, there is no OEM number for a door; there’s one for a door shell.

Part of the value in recycled parts for the collision repair industry is the opportunity to receive an original manufacture’s part like a door fully intact, thereby reducing the labour they’d expend if the door had been a bare shell. Ultimately, it reduces the cycle time of the vehicle being repaired.

As Hollander senior product manager Avi Pelc put it, the real question is “how do we give the collision repairer confidence that the part is accurate and that it is the correct used part for their vehicle?” This is the very nature of what Hollander does and they have teams of representatives who are trained to use various systems to outline this for all stake holders in our industry. As Avi explained to me, it all boils down to the premise of the Interchange itself: “fit and function.” Hollander is the creator and makes the decisions using that credo. When there are slight variations to the interchangeability of parts, Hollander provides the options for its users.

In simple terms, the benefits of Interchange are that it allows auto recyclers to search for and find parts from manufacturers that share parts components, such as Chrysler and Mitsubishi etc. When part requests are logged into various inventory management systems available to auto recyclers the Hollander Interchange is the foundation for each and every part look up. Essentially, it increases the likelihood of finding that part in the recyclers database.

Without this common platform available to recyclers the net result would be very chaotic and confusing due to the varying natures in which we operate. Recyclers have to find a middle point and not limit ourselves to the opportunities to provide collision repair centres with the parts they want and need. We may not have the part from the exact model, and the appropriate part we have available may not even come from the same type of vehicle, but that doesn’t mean the part we have isn’t applicable to the repair.

The Hollander Interchange, also known as the “Bible” for the auto recycling industry, is the reason that we are able to effectively cross reference these parts and provide them as an option in the repair process. Not long ago, auto recyclers had two forms of interchange for our industry, and this only fractured and shrunk the marketplace for parts; there were too many barriers and obstacles for us to trade parts among ourselves.

I think it is fair to say that there still needs to be improvements to the existing situation. A better exchange of information is attainable, which will aids in strengthening all stake holders in our industry.

Having said that, the common platform by which we operate today allows us to trade many tens of thousands of parts daily in an almost seamless fashion. This in itself would otherwise not be possible without Interchange. This is all because of the great work that is done behind the scenes at Hollander and a big thank you is deserved for their efforts and positive contribution to our industry. 

by David Gold, Standard Auto Wreckers, Scarborough Ontario
This story originally ran in Collision Repair magazine issue 9#3.

Save some money and help the planet by buying recycled auto parts

You see a car being towed from an accident and think it’s destined to become an environmentally unfriendly pile of rusting junk? Think again. It’s actually a source of reusable parts that can easily offer years of service to another motorist.

In fact, auto recycling is the ultimate environmental choice. No other product on earth is recycled to a greater degree than the automobile. Not only does it keep a flood of dangerous toxins from being released into our ground and water, it prevents unnecessary use of valuable landfill space. And by reducing the need for new parts to be manufactured, you’ll be preserving scarce natural resources and cutting down on pollution.

As an example, take a look at the top 15 automotive parts searched for via, the search engine that powers the Ontario Auto Recyclers’ Association web site (found by clicking on “Find Green Parts Now” at

1. Engine assemblies
2. Transmission/transaxle assemblies
3. Wheels
4. Headlamp assemblies
5. Front Bumper assemblies
6. Front Door assemblies
7. Fenders
8. Hoods
9. Side view Mirrors
10. Tail lamps
11. Rear Bumper assemblies
12. Decklids/Tailgates
13. Air Bags
14. Electronic Engine Control Modules
15. Rear Door assemblies

Also, the average price for a used part in good working order is about half the cost of a new one. When it comes to an engine assembly or transmission assembly worth more than $1,000, the savings can truly add up.

And, you can rest assured that the part you’re looking for is top standard. OARA auto recyclers ensure the quality and reliability of the parts they sell. During the dismantling process, every part is inspected and tested so only those that meet strict guidelines and tolerances are offered for resale. Some parts, such as engines and transmissions, may be remanufactured while other parts, such as lights and wheels, may be reconditioned.

As parts are inventoried, the model year and mileage of the vehicle they came from are recorded to provide information about the condition of the part you're purchasing.

One thing to keep in mind – many recycled parts remain attached to their vehicle until the part is sold, so you may have to wait—typically just a day or two—before you actually get your part.

To find a recycling centre near you visit

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Auto Recycling - The last road trip

The largest piece of refuse you will probably ever throw away is your car. Every year, half a million vehicles are taken off Ontario roads as a result of age or collision damage and sent to auto dismantlers. In most cases, 75 percent of a car’s parts can be recycled; the remainder (mostly plastics, but can also contain mercury and liquid freon from air conditioners) ends up in a landfill. Because no single agency is responsible for monitoring end-of-life vehicle (ELV) dismantling practices in Ontario, it is impossible to determine how much hazardous material from rusting auto parts is released into the air or seeps into the ground and waterways.

Says Steve Fletcher, executive director of the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA), “When you consider the numbers – 500,000 cars times five tires, one battery, two or three mercury switches, litres of various toxic fluids – it’s overwhelming to think of the potential environmental impact of handing over cars to auto dismantlers that simply strip what they want and throw the rest in a crusher.”

The OARA and its 135 member organizations, which make up only a fraction of the thousands of selfdescribed auto dismantlers in Ontario, adhere to a strict code of conduct regarding the treatment of ELVs and reuse or recycle every possible component of a vehicle. “By reusing salvageable parts,” says Fletcher, “you’re providing the customer with a good part for half the price and avoiding having to exploit resources to build the part again from scratch.”

OARA members are attempting to give an industry associated with junkyard landscapes, guard dogs and cigar-smoking toughs a green makeover. David Gold owns and operates Standard Auto Wreckers with his father, Ken. Gold thinks that the environmental impact of ELVs could be lessened considerably by creating an industry standard that all auto dismantlers would have to follow. “The treatment of hazardous fluids throughout much of the industry is an abomination. We use a state-of-theart fluid separation device that drains all fluids from the car so that they can be reused.” Gold, whose company provides customers with a certificate to show that their car has been recycled in full, knows that until legislation is passed regarding the treatment of ELVs, responsibility falls on the public to take a cradle-to-the-grave approach to owning a car. “We’re around, but because our overhead is higher [due to the fluid separation equipment and processes] we can’t always pay what junkyards can for ELVs. We need people to think with their heads instead of their wallets.”

by Jim MacInnis

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Fate of End of Life Vehicles

When cars reach the end of the road either through natural old age or untimely accident, their owners send them off with little thought about their eventual fate. Likewise, most jurisdictions in Canada have given little thought to the tons of waste generated by discarded cars.

That may be about to change. With new interest in extended producer responsibility (EPR), the spotlight is starting to shine on vehicles and their parts and materials. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) has approved a Canada-wide EPR action plan that commits to framework legislation for managing a number of automotive waste products, including used oil, filters, batteries, refrigerants, brakes and transmission fluids. BC already has the jump with its recent regulation requiring environmental management plans from facilities handling end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). In its review of the Waste Diversion Act, Ontario has also proposed to make ELVs a designated diversion material within five years.

The waste from discarded vehicles is no small problem — not only because of the volume, but because of the toxins that may contaminate the residue.

In Canada, approximately 1.2 million vehicles are taken off the road every year. Yet there’s currently no national framework for managing them; no agency tracks their numbers and fate. Consequently, it’s difficult to gauge the exact extent of the waste problem. As Susan Sawyer-Beaulieu, Ph.D., from the University of Windsor concludes from her detailed research, ELVs are the least studied phase of the car lifecycle.

So, what does happen to your retired vehicle? When sent to a reputable auto recycler, chances are that it will be managed responsibly. Reusable or recyclable parts will be removed before shredding. Typical parts that can be recovered are AC compressors, water pumps, carburetors, alternators, starters, transmissions, axle assemblies, engines, and transfer cases. Batteries, catalytic converters, radiators and tires are also removed for recycling.

Auto recyclers also play an important role in removing liquids that would otherwise pose a pollution problem. When vehicles go for dismantling, an average of 19 litres of operating fluids — including hazardous ones — is recovered in a proper non-polluting process: engine oil, transmission oil, drive oil, steering fluid, coolant and fuel. Mercury light switches and mercury-containing anti-lock brake systems will also be recovered and properly disposed.

The best guess about the number of vehicles being appropriately managed comes from the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) that represents hundreds of auto dismantling and recycling facilities across the country. ARC estimates that 600,000 cars and other vehicles come off the roads every year in Ontario — just under half the vehicles in Canada.

According to ARC, of those 600,000 ELVs, approximately 200,000 are handled by their members, who are required to “de-pollute” the vehicles before shredding. The other 400,000 (or roughly 65 per cent) are processed either by other auto wreckers, some of whom sell used parts, or they go directly to salvage yards or scrap metal dealers who send them to shredders for metal recovery.

When the cars go to salvage yards or scrap metal dealers, it’s much harder to know how the vehicle is managed. This is a serious part of the waste problem. Here, the vehicle is not going to be dismantled for parts, and it’s not generally physically or economically feasible for these facilities to remove oils, refrigerants and other polluting substances before a vehicle is shredded.

When the vehicle finally arrives at the shredder, either mined for parts and de-polluted (or not), it’s broken down into much smaller pieces, and the metals are extracted. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals are recovered. (Ferrous metals make up about 70 per cent of a vehicle, while non-ferrous metals are about 6 per cent.) Happily, because of the value of the metal in a car, 75 per cent of each vehicle by weight is recycled. However, the 25 per cent left over — a commingled mess of rubber, plastics, glass, dirt, carpet fibres, and seat foam — is waste destined for the landfill.

Because of the sheer volume of vehicles that go off the road every year, this adds up to tons and tons of waste. The 600,000 vehicles in Ontario retired annually generate at least 500 pounds of auto shredder residue per vehicle. This means 300 million pounds (or 150,000 tonnes) of shredder residue go into Ontario landfills each year. A significant proportion of this waste is shredded parts and materials that could be recovered and reused if a proper recycling framework were in place. Moreover, if the vehicle is not depolluted prior to being shredded, the residue sent to landfill is contaminated.

A legal framework in Canada and in all the provinces to strengthen the management of end-of-life vehicles is long overdue. Such a framework would provide the basis for building a sustainable vehicle recycling industry.

Anne Wordsworth is Research Associate with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in Toronto, Ontario. Contact Anne at This article appeared in Solid Waste and Recycling Magazine

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Using recycled parts to repair your vehicle

You've just had an accident and you file a claim with your insurance. The Adjuster comes out to inspect your vehicle and writes an estimate. If the Adjuster has done their job correctly, they will have gone over the estimate with you and explained what they have written. One of the items on the estimate, is to replace a body panel with a quality replacement part or recycled part. You respond to the Adjuster by saying, “I do not want used parts on my vehicle” It helps to understand the logic and benefit from using recycled parts to repair your vehicle.

For example, lets say that you drive a 2006 Chrysler 300, 4 door. Your vehicle has 45,000 miles and your vehicle is in clean mint condition. You have an accident and dent the right front door. The damage is severe enough to cause the beam inside the door to be bent, jeopardizing the safety of the door, which needs to be replaced. When the insurance Adjuster comes out to inspect your vehicle and writes an estimate, they are going to search for a recycled right front door. What this means is that a search will be done on a door off the same year and make vehicle. If a recycled door is found, it is from another, same make and year, vehicle that has been in an accident, possibly, and had damage to the left side of the vehicle, making all parts on the right side reusable or recycled. The color of the recycled door may be a different color, but the Adjuster will add blend time to match the paint.

Recycled parts are used because the insurance company, not only saves money, but wants to put your vehicle back to pre-accident condition. Buying a new right door from the manufacturer is not returning the vehicle back to its pre-accident condition. Remember, the vehicle from our example above is 3 years old. That damaged right door is not new anymore, the paint has a slight fade and it may have a few door dings or scuffs. Buying a new door would be putting you ahead or you would be benefiting from the collision. The insurance company will only pay for what they owe.

The benefit to replacing the right door, in our example above, with a recycled door, is that it is a manufacturer part. It is not a aftermarket part. The recycled part will fit perfectly on your vehicle because it was made from the same manufacturer.

When an insurance company uses a recycled part on your vehicle for repairs, they usually guarantee the part for the life of the vehicle. If the recycled part is not available, the insurance company will most often write your estimate to replace the part with a new part, but that's after they do a major search, within a 200 to 300 mile radius, for the recycled part. One problem some people have is that they associate the word recycled with the word used, which takes away the perception of quality. Recycled should be perceived as good quality because it came from the manufacturer . The recycled part is just as good as the original part on your vehicle before the accident. Some people may think that using recycled parts will affect their vehicle manufacturer warranty. This is not true because using recycled parts does not have an effect on the integrity of the vehicle.

Remember, it's the Adjuster's responsibility to explain the estimate to you and disclose the use of recycled parts. Most estimates will have a line note, in correlation with the recycled part being replaced, explaining where the recycled part was purchased. This is to help the body shop locate the part to avoid delay.
It seems logical that using recycled parts is fair and beneficial. Your getting the same exact part,the fit is perfect and it's warranted by the insurance company. And, your also helping the environment.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

As we hold onto our cars, salvage yards reap profits

A socket wrench in one hand and greasy red rag in the other, Roy Meyers worked under a junked Ford Taurus, removing its air-conditioning compressor.

"It’s Florida," the Apopka, Fla., man said, "and you have to have air conditioning in the summer."

His wife’s 10-year-old Taurus needs some work, so Meyers is spending this particular Saturday afternoon at U-Pull & Pay, a self-service salvage yard on Jetstream Drive, near Orlando International Airport. He’s pulling parts from one of several Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable carcasses propped up on old, bare wheels. He’ll pay $35 for the compressor. New from Ford, the compressor would cost $373.32.

As budget-conscious consumers keep their cars longer in the struggling economy, salvage yards across the nation have reaped the rewards of more business.

A study conducted last February by, a California-based auto repair information site, found that 56 percent of respondents planned to keep their current vehicle "until it dies," and another 13 percent planned to keep their current vehicle until it has at least 150,000 miles.

"Not only are consumers holding onto their vehicles for years longer but, more significantly, for miles longer, opting to repair and maintain rather than purchasing new," said President Shane Evangelist.

Mike Philpott of Heathrow, Fla., considers himself typical. He drives a 1999 Ford pickup truck, and his wife has a 1997 BMW.

"The total cost of ownership for any new car or truck I’d be interested in far outweighs the maintenance and operating costs of my 1999 truck," he said.

Rachel Rigsby Lare, whose family owns Rigsby’s Auto Salvage in Zephyrhills, Fla., has seen a steady uptick in the junkyard business.

Lare, also vice-president of the Maitland-based Florida Auto Dismantlers and Recyclers Association, a statewide trade group for salvage operators, said for the first four months of 2010, her business was up by about 900 sales, or more than 8 percent, over the same period from 2009.

"And this trend has been going on for some time," she said, adding that the FADRA has 35 member salvage yards in Central Florida alone.

Lare said that the fact people are driving cars longer has not made it substantially harder to acquire more vehicles.

"Most of ours are the result of collisions," she said. Her lot has more than seven acres of vehicles — typically from 1,000 to 1,200 — awaiting recycling.

"Automobiles are probably the most recycled item on the planet," she said. "We reuse everything. And I mean everything."

Terry Thompson, president of the FADRA and owner of Ole South Auto Salvage in Lake Placid, Fla., said he has seen an increased demand for mechanical parts such as engines, transmissions and air conditioning compressors.

"Those are parts that you need to keep a vehicle on the road — basic transportation from point A to point B — and not so much the parts you need to just make a car look better," he said.

Parts prices can vary dramatically. At U-Pull-&-Pay, a front fender for a 1992 Chevrolet Camaro — as well as any front fender for any vehicle they have — lists for $32.99, but figure on spending 30 minutes or more removing it, using your own tools.

That price doesn’t include the $2 "entry fee" that U-Pull & Pay charges to come in and look around. The yard does loan you a wheelbarrow to haul your parts to the parking lot.

The same fender, but already removed from the car and ready to be picked up at another Orlando salvage yard, is $65. A new fender not made by General Motors — likely stamped out in China, and imported here — costs $172.26. And a new fender that is OEM, or made by Chevrolet, the "Original Equipment Manufacturer," costs $461.10.

Even hard-to-find parts have become easier to locate, thanks to computerization, which has changed several aspects of the salvage business.

At yards like U-Pull & Pay, clerks can cross-reference parts and tell you, for example, that if you are looking for an alternator for a 1996 Chevrolet Cavalier, an alternator from a Buick Skylark, Chevrolet Malibu, Pontiac Grand Am and Sunfire and Oldsmobile Achieva should also work.

And many salvage yards are connected to computer networks that can find the part you need at other yards, if the yard you’re visiting doesn’t have it in stock.

Thompson doesn’t expect business to slow down soon.

"As long as the economy is slow, and credit is tight, I expect people to hang on to what they have," he said. "And that’s good news for us."

By Steven Cole Smith / The Orlando Sentinel

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Australia - Ban on Repairable Write-off to hit car re-birthing rackets

The NSW Government will introduce legislation to ban the re-registration of all ‘repairable written-off’ vehicles to clamp down on car rebirthing, Minister for Transport and Roads David Campbell announced on April 8, 2010.

Mr Campbell said the legislation will mean that write-offs will no longer be able to be sold at auctions, where the vehicles can then be re-birthed and on-sold to unsuspecting consumers.

“There is a black market for purchasing written-off vehicles at auctions, then using stolen parts to rebirth and register the car, to be sold for a tidy profit,” Mr Campbell said.

“This isn’t being done by licensed repairers - in most instances it’s not financially viable for genuine repairers to repair these cars using legitimate parts.

“In many cases, it’s being done by unscrupulous operators in backyards and workshops using stolen parts, who then sell the vehicles to unwary motorists.

“Some consumers are being taken for a ride - motorists might be driving around in what’s effectively a stolen vehicle.

“More importantly, many of these vehicles have had dodgy repairs which can mask major structural damage. It’s extremely unsafe.

“Car re-birthing is a significant problem which has been known to have links to organised crime syndicates.

“Today’s announcement will put a massive dent in these illegal operations.

“It’s estimated that as many as six out of ten of the 20,537 repairable written-off vehicles presented for re-registration in 2009 posed serious questions about the origin of the parts used to repair them.

“Around 19,000 vehicles were stolen in NSW in the 2008-09 financial year – of these, around 5,700 have not been recovered.

“Today’s announcement means any car which is written off will not be able to be reregistered even if it can be repaired.”

Mr Campbell said the NSW Government made the decision to ban repairable write-offs after a discussion paper was released for consultation in August last year.

“What we found was that consumers – as well as legitimate car dealers and repairers – wanted better protections in place,” he said.

“NSW is the first state to introduce this ban on repairable write-offs, and we would encourage other states to follow our lead and implement similar laws.

“There will be very limited exemptions to the new laws – for some vehicles written off because of hail damage, and for some classic antique cars.

“We will also strengthen written-off vehicle notification requirements – for example, vehicles currently being sent to a scrap yard for crushing are not required to be registered on the Written-off Vehicle Register (WOVR) and this presents an additional opportunity for

Mr Campbell said the new laws are on top of the RTA’s Vehicle History Check service launched last year.

“The RTA’s Vehicle History Check service allows potential buyers to check whether a used car has ever been written-off anywhere in Australia,” he said.

“The service also provides customers with details of a car’s history including the number of previous owners, when it was first registered in NSW and odometer readings.

“All you need is the car’s registration plate details, vehicle type and the last four digits of the VIN/chassis number.

“It’s a simple check you can do on the RTA website for under $20.”

The new laws will be implemented following stringent legislative change and will take effect in August this year.

David Campbell MP, Australian Minister for Transport and Roads