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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lecavalier Vehicle Disassembly

Stop motion video demonstrating complete vehicle dismantling at Lecavalier Auto Parts.

Rick Mercer Report at Carcone's Auto Recycling

This isn't exactly how it happens every day - it is a comedy show after all - but it was fun to hang with Rick for the day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Will the recession total your car?

The economy has dented your car's value, at least in the eyes of insurers. Here's why, despite fewer serious wrecks, more cars are being declared a total loss.

The roads are safer today than ever. For several reasons -- older drivers, better cars, graduated licensing for teens -- fatal accidents in the U.S. have been falling for years. In fact, the government reported this month that highway fatalities had fallen to their lowest level since 1949.

Yet we are totaling far more cars.

In 2000, about 9% of the cars appraised for repairs were judged totaled, says car insurance claims analyst CCC Information Services. In 2010, that number rose to 14%.

We're not having more wrecks. And we're not having worse wrecks.

We're having a recession.

How much is my used car worth?
"Totaled" to the average driver means a wreck with a "holy cow" amount of damage. But "totaled" to your car insurance company means simply that repairs to the car don't make financial sense. That decision hinges on the car's value, its age and the repair costs. The Great Recession has done a number on all three.

Why we're buying and insuring older cars
It all started with a recent, astronomical run-up in the price of used cars. In 2008, as the recession took hold, new-car sales plunged. Would-be buyers feared for their jobs and hung on to their old cars. Tighter credit meant many who wanted to take the plunge couldn't. And manufacturers could no longer raise the money needed to underwrite subsidized leases and rebates.

Here's what new-car sales looked like over the past five years, according to Automotive News:

16 million in 2007.
13 million in 2008.
10 million in 2009.
11.6 million in 2010.
12.2 million (estimated) this year.

The auto market is a complicated ecosystem. "About 60% of all new-vehicle sales result in a trade-in," says Susanna Gotsch, the director and industry analyst at CCC Information Services.

Since the sales meltdown, the pool of like-new used cars has shrunk. Prices for those cream puffs have risen, pushing some buyers toward models with a few more miles. Those older cars now are selling at a premium, with sticker shock rippling all the way down to clunkers that can be bought without credit.

Last year alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, the price of used cars rose 12.7%.

Cars are older, smaller -- but not cheaper to repair
As people keep their old cars longer and feel less inclined to buy new ones, the average age of autos on the road has risen by more than two years, from 8.5 years old in 1995 to 10.7 years old today, says Gotsch.

The cars are smaller as well. With the sudden rise of fuel prices in 2008 (and Cash for Clunkers removing 700,000 gas guzzlers from the roads), smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles gained market share. Today, the roads carry a growing proportion of small vehicles that suffer more extensive damage in a wreck.

The impact of a crash pushes destruction farther back through a small car, involving a larger proportion of the body, says insurance analyst Greg Horn of Mitchell International. "The bottom line is that the smaller the car, the more likely it is to be totaled," says Horn.

With roads full of older, more vulnerable cars that still use expensive-to-repair technology such as air bags, the tipping point at which a car is declared a total loss happens at lower and lower values, the experts say. If used cars weren't fetching such high prices, the problem would be even worse.

"We have seen it go from upwards of 12% with some (insurance) carriers to, say, upward of 20% of the vehicles have been totaled," says Gotsch.

The math behind your totaled car
To a stranger or an insurance company, your beloved, ultraclean 10-year-old car isn't worth much. You're probably wondering whether to keep collision and comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy.

But say you did. Your 2002 Nissan Altima in "good" condition is worth about $3,500 in trade, according to Kelley Blue Book. And say you absent-mindedly connect with a parking-lot light pole, cracking the bumper and headlight and wrinkling the hood.

The average claim last year on cars older than seven years was $1,913, CCCIS says. Let's use that number as your damage claim. If you have rental-car reimbursement coverage, your adjuster will add an estimate for that to the total. Then he looks at what kind of salvage value the car has if sold to a parts yard.

If the total for repairs -- plus rental, any storage fees and salvage value -- is more than the pre-crash value of the car, he'll probably take title to the car and write you a check.

If the estimate of repairs exceeds your state's threshold, he'll write you a check. About half the states set a threshold, ranging from Iowa's 50% of actual cash value to Texas' 100%.

If the car simply won't be safe, he'll write you a check.

CCCIS says one in four wrecked vehicles more than 7 years old winds up a total loss.

from MSN Money

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canadian study shows where old cars go in the afterlife

Neil Young once speculated on the fate of his beloved old 1948 Buick Roadmaster in the hippie-era auto elegy Long May You Run, suggesting hopefully: "Maybe the Beach Boys have got you now."

Turns out that may be true. But rather than "gettin' to the surf on time," a University of Windsor engineering professor says it's more likely the old hearse is keeping Brian Wilson's beer cold as part of his fridge.

Susan Sawyer-Beaulieu, a post-doctoral researcher in civil and environmental engineering, has spent eight years studying what happens to "end-of-life" vehicles when they are taken off the road and has determined most are stripped, shredded, sorted and resold as parts of other consumer products from appliances to lawn mowers.

"It mostly ends up in other products," she said. "Wherever steel is used in manufacturing some portion of that comes from end-of-life vehicles. Could be in appliances, construction material, could even end up in another car."

That, she said, is certainly the case when vehicles are harvested by scrap yards and auto recyclers and all the still useful components, like starters or steering columns, are stripped out, salvaged, refurbished and sold as replacement parts for other vehicles.

But Sawyer-Beaulieu's research is simply not to satisfy the curiosity of anyone who wondered, "whatever happened to old Betsy?" It has a more practical application too.

With funding provided in part from the Auto21 network and the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association, Sawyer-Beaulieu has been compiling a meticulous assessment of what goes into an auto-dismantling facility, what gets recycled and reused and what gets shredded and ends up in a landfill.

Large automotive dismantlers can process as many as 17,000 vehicles a year. Every year 13 million vehicles reach their "end of life."

She has discovered that 80 per cent of the vehicle is recycled and reused in some way but 20 per cent still ends up in landfill. As much as 12 per cent of reusable parts are recovered even before the remaining hulks are shipped off to the shredder for metals recovery.

The goal, she said, is to find ways to recover even more of the leftovers and to cut back as much as possible on that 20 per cent still going to the landfill. Aside from the obvious environmental concerns, she said that eliminating waste also saves the industry money from tipping fees and guards them from that day when governments ban the dumping of automotive materials at landfills, as in Europe.

It is also her hope that auto jobs could be created if there is increased emphasis on recovering, reusing and recycling parts and materials. The research could be used to demonstrate there is a market for more of the materials used in automotive manufacturing and that salvaging and recycling it makes good business sense.

So what kinds of materials can be found in an end-of-life car? Steel, other ferrous and non-ferrous metals, foam, plastics, glass, residual oils and fluids, fabrics, rubber. Once those components have been separated, the remaining hulk is send to a shredder and chopped into fist-sized pieces.

"In Europe it's legislated how much must be recovered," said Sawyer-Beaulieu. "In Canada it's still a market-driven system. The industry doesn't want to be legislated because it could affect the way they do business. My research is to see how they can recover more to prevent that from being sent to landfills."

She gave the example of automotive seating assemblies. Currently, once anything usable has been stripped out, the seats are simply sent along to the shredder. She said "it would be nice" to see what further use can be made of the seats.

As vehicles become more computerized, she said, ways should be found to fully recover the electronics and circuit boards.

And what of those parts that can be salvaged whole? Sawyer Beaulieu's research shows they end up on the market as reconditioned auto parts, offered as replacements to consumers looking for inexpensive repairs.

Often the insurance industry suggests the use of these refurbished parts to clients for use in cars damaged in collisions as a way to save on repair bills. She said that newer cars, even those involved in major collisions, are valued more in the industry than even well preserved cars 15 years or older because their components are out of date.

The exception, she said, is with older vehicles that are considered classics or collectibles. Those parts are always in demand among enthusiasts hoping to stockpile replacement parts for reclamation projects.

So, perhaps there may be someone out there, maybe even a surfer girl, still saving a steering column, tail light assembly or engine part from Neil Young's old Buick, even though 90 per cent of it has been shredded. Long may you run.

By Don Lajoie, Postmedia News October 17, 2011 The Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A National Approach to the Environmental Management of End-of-life Vehicles in Canada

The Automotive Recyclers of Canada is the national voice of the vehicle recycling industry representing, through its provincial affiliates, approximately 400 end-of-live vehicle (ELV) recyclers and dismantlers throughout Canada.

ELV processing represents one of the largest recycling sectors in Canada with about 1.2 million retired recycled each year. With a 94% ELV recovery and return rate, ELV waste diversion rates are higher than those for most provincial waste diversion programs. While ELV processors are subject to a number of provincial and federal requirements, ELV management practices are highly variable. The practice of processing ELVs throughout the country is not subject to consistent or comprehensive regulated standards. The lack of common processing standards for ELVs is significant. While used parts and scrap metal values are driving high recycling rates, ELVs also include a number of substances of concerns that incur costs when properly removed. It is common for many ELVs processors to reduce costs by ignoring environmental standards with respect to these materials. This creates an uneven playing field in the sector. While a number of vehicle recyclers operate to high environmental standards, with attendant high rates of reuse, recycling and minimal environmental discharges, the majority operate to no standard at all.

Increasingly this sector is becoming subject to a number of government waste management requirements. Different provincial and federal waste management initiatives create obligations with respect to how vehicles and vehicle components are managed. British Columbia has a requirement for ELV processors to establish waste management plans. Ontario has discussed designating ELVs for waste diversion in its mid-term plans. Quebec is expanding its extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs and will likely consider adding ELVs. The federal government has proposed implementing EPR rules related to the management of ozone depleting substances (ODS) including how those substances in vehicles are managed.

To date government initiatives to address vehicle components through waste diversion programs have not effectively addressed the serious environmental problems associated with ELV processing. The creation of EPR type waste management obligations with respect to ELVs, in the absence of a common and enforceable environmental standard for ELV processing, is likely to be counterproductive.

With respect to vehicle manufacturers, a national sector is threatened with a patchwork of various waste management requirements and obligations that are unlikely to generate actual improvements in ELV recycling. With respect to automotive recyclers, responsible businesses may be burdened with additional obligations, while their competitors continue to operate outside of provincial and federal waste management programs.

For the above reasons, the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) believes that it is timely to consider a national standard with respect to ELV processing. One of the core objectives of such an approach is to implement and enforce a common environmental processing standard for ELVs. This would address the single most significant problem associated with ELV recycling in Canada today. In Ontario, where the base of Canada's automotive manufacturing sector operates, the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA), an ARC affiliate, has been working in collaboration with the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturer’s Association (CVMA) to create a licensing regime for vehicle recyclers in Ontario. The CVMA and ARC believe that the core elements of that proposal represent objectives that are readily achievable throughout Canada.

These include:

1) Codifying the National Code of Practice for Automotive Recyclers developed under the National Vehicle Scrappage Program (“Retire your Ride”) in provincially set regulation;
2) Licensing or registering businesses engaged in ELV processing to ensure sector-wide compliance with that common environmental processing standard; and
3) Auditing and monitoring processors and reporting annually on ELV recycling activity;

While the cross jurisdictional nature of environmental policy raises issues related to a national conception of ELV processing, both the ARC and CVMA believe that coordinating government policy in this area is an essential component to enhancing vehicle manufacturing competitiveness and generating positive environmental outcomes with respect to ELV waste management.

To download the discussion paper - A National Approach to the Environmental Management of End-of-life Vehicles in Canada

Friday, September 02, 2011

Rules badly needed for neglected auto recycling

Will the fate of defunct cars influence your vote in the Oct. 6 Ontario election?

What! You haven’t even thought about it? Perhaps you should.

After all, an estimated 550,000 vehicles are scrapped here every year. The business generally goes unnoticed.

Its problems would be relatively easy to fix, says the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association, which represents one-third of Ontario’s car scrappers and wants whatever party that wins the election to commit to cleaning up this neglected industry.

Scrappers can make up to $300 per vehicle selling the useful parts or the steel, aluminum and other metals the junkers contain. That’s why 94 per cent are recycled.

Each car also contains, on average, 40 litres of gasoline, oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze and other liquids, as well as mercury, lead and other materials — most of them toxic. Some can also be reused or recycled; others must be disposed of. But all must be handled carefully.

When “end of life vehicles,” or ELVs, are processed well, the association says, 83 per cent of each vehicle, by weight, is reused or recycled.

The association’s 130 member companies must follow a code devised by a national group, the Automotive Recyclers of Canada, which was based on Environment Canada’s rules for the old Retire Your Ride scrappage program. It requires the nasty stuff to be drained or removed and handled like the hazardous waste it is, before the rest of the car is crushed and shredded. But association membership is voluntary, and the province’s 370 or so non-members are free to ignore it. While some treat the wastes properly, others “cut corners” and aren’t often caught.

The province doesn’t keep track of ELVs and exempts scrappers from the Environmental Protection Act provision that requires a Certificate of Approval for waste-disposal sites.

As for other provincial and federal anti-pollution rules, “some aspects of ELV handling are not regulated at all and where regulations do exist, enforcement is lacking,” the association says.

The result: Toxic materials become pollutants rather than resources. They soak into the ground or get emitted into the air. Some poison underground water, or lakes and rivers; others damage the earth’s protective high-level ozone layer or can cause respiratory diseases or cancer in humans.

“The release of 15 million litres of substances of concern in a single incident would likely generate headlines across the province,” the association says. “However, many small, daily releases . . . are happening across Ontario and this can be just as damaging to the environment.”

The group’s solution — supported by domestic and offshore carmakers — is a non-profit body to oversee all recyclers, who would be bound by the national code. Participation would be mandatory, and the companies, not carmakers or consumers, would pay — perhaps $10 per car — for the licensing and enforcement it would require.

Similar systems work well in parts of Europe. British Columbia has a flawed version: The government is responsible for enforcement and won’t spend enough to do that job.

Here, politics intervene.

The Conservatives won’t touch the idea because it appears to clash with their mantra of cutting taxes and red tape and their criticism of the government’s Eco-Fees — even though the association’s scheme is a business-oriented polar opposite of that botched program. The Liberals have said positive things about the plan but won’t set themselves up for attack on any policy that hints of regulation. The New Democrats are aligned with the United Auto Workers which, to protect union jobs, wants the carmakers made responsible for recycling.

But this is a good, simple idea that, as the association notes, is also a first step toward responsible, efficient battery recycling.

It deserves better.

Peter Gorrie for the Toronto Star

Thursday, September 01, 2011

There is no green car without green recycling - but where's the profit?

Fancy Batteries in Electric Cars Pose Recycling Challenges
With fleets of electric cars starting to hit the roads, the next big mother lode for salvage companies is expected to be the expensive batteries that power them.

Yet even as automakers vaunt the ways these cars can benefit the environment, they are divided over how best to handle the refuse: recycle or repurpose.

That is worrying some companies involved in ''urban mining'' - a voguish term that refers to extracting valuable metals from all kinds of discarded electronics. They have already begun spending money to build an infrastructure to handle the flood of partly depleted battery packs that are expected to enter the waste stream; Frost & Sullivan, a consulting firm, puts the number at about 500,000 a year by the early 2020s.

''There is no green car without green recycling,'' said Ghislain Van Damme, a manager at Umicore, a company based in Hoboken that is one of the world's largest recyclers of precious and specialty metals from electronic waste.

Companies that fail to plan for recycling face ''brand damage'' at the very least, he said, as well as potential fines and legal action if the batteries end up being illegally incinerated or dumped in landfills. In many cases, automakers will be responsible for final disposal of the batteries - even if they did not actually manufacture them - because of stricter laws governing recycling, especially in Europe.

Any sense of urgency in developing recycling capacity has been dampened, however, by the cost factor. The newest, most-powerful lithium-based batteries are also less valuable to recycle than earlier ones.

Lithium is plentiful, compared with the nickel and cobalt found in hybrid and all-electric car batteries developed earlier, even if the main sources of the metal, in countries like Chile and Bolivia, are far from auto production centers.

''You can count on a constant and growing thirst for metals, including lithium,'' said P.Aswin Kumar, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan. ''But lithium still costs about five times more to recycle than to mine, so environmental laws will drive recycling for now.''

Shoebox-size, lead-acid batteries have powered ignition and lighting in gasoline- or diesel-powered cars for decades. They already are widely recycled, mainly because lead is such a health hazard.

The batteries for hybrid and all-electric cars are far more powerful and much larger, with some weighing about 250 kilograms, or 550 pounds. They also can be the car's most expensive component, mostly because of the complexity in making them, rather than the value of the materials.

Complicating the question of disposal, a large amount of energy remains stored even in partially discharged batteries. These could deliver harmful shocks and pose a serious fire hazard if mishandled.

For now, automakers are going their individual ways.

Toyota Motor, whose experience goes back to 1998, shortly after the introduction of the RAV4 all-electric vehicle, has established partnerships in Europe and the United States to recycle batteries, including those used in the hybrid Prius. This year, it began shipping some batteries from Prius models sold in the United States to Japan to take advantage of a more-efficient recycling process there.

Honda Motor recycled nearly 500 batteries during 2009 from the electric hybrid models it began selling in Japan more than a decade ago. But it still is exploring ways to structure that part of its business as it rolls out models like the Insight and the CR-Z.

General Motors and Nissan Motor, whose Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are newer to the market, are taking a different tack. They have agreements with power companies to develop ways of reusing old batteries, perhaps for storing wind or solar energy during peak generating times for later use.

Bayerische Motoren Werke, known for its premium BMW line, continues to carry out research on whether to recycle or reuse the batteries from its Mini E, an all-electric car it began leasing on a limited basis in 2009.

Meanwhile, some governments have begun to get involved to ensure that their car industries are not undermined by sourcing or safety issues.

In the United States, the Department of Energy has granted $9.5 million to Toxco to build a specialized recycling plant in Ohio for electric vehicle batteries. It is expected to begin operations next year, handling batteries from a variety of makes and models.

Another pilot plant being built in the German state of Lower Saxony is expected to open at the end of this month. The German government gave Chemetall, which is part of a consortium called LithoRec that includes Volkswagen and its Audi unit, (EURO)5.7 million, or $8.2 million, of the (EURO)14.3 million cost.

The British government granted £500,000, or $813,000, this year for a similar project to a group of companies including Axeon, which makes lithium-based car batteries.

Such recycling ''is entirely nonexistent in the U.K. at the moment,'' said Lawrence Berns, the chief executive of Axeon.

In Belgium, Umicore plans a formal opening for a (EURO)25 million plant in September in Hoboken, just outside of Antwerp, that can recover nearly all of the elements packed inside electric and hybrid car batteries, including cobalt, nickel, lithium and even rare earths like neodymium.

The plant uses intense heat - more than 1,300 degrees Celsius (2,370 Fahrenheit) - to strip away plastic coatings and creates a plasma, or ultrahigh-temperature gas, to separate metals and other materials.

The process yields tree-trunk-size chunks of gnarled metal alloy, some weighing more than 2,000 kilograms.

Umicore refines those chunks to create metals for resale to manufacturers of car batteries, wind turbines and other high-technology products.

It also recovers a gravelly substance, or slag, that Rhodia, a French chemical company, refines for rare earths like neodymium. Given the recent restrictions by China on exporting such materials, more companies are looking at doing the same.

Mr. Van Damme said the Umicore plant's design could be enlarged to handle more than a million car batteries each year; the current capacity is 150,000.

Even before the official inauguration, it has recycled some batteries from the Prius, mostly from models that were involved in accidents or scrapped early. Honda said that Umicore was ''a serious option'' for its future recycling plans.

But, so far, the only car company that has announced a deal with Umicore is Tesla Motors, of Palo Alto, California, whose electric roadsters start at more than $100,000. Tesla will pay to recycle its battery packs from models sold in Europe after seven to 10 years on the road. The final cost to Tesla would depend partly on the market value of the metals recovered by Umicore.

Tesla said that it was also working with Toxco in the United States.

Some manufacturers, like G.M. and Nissan, are focused on deferring recycling for as long as possible. They estimate that even at the end of their motoring life, the batteries should still be able to hold about 70 percent of the power of a new one.

Nissan has formed a joint venture called 4R Energy with Sumitomo, a Japanese conglomerate, aimed at using the old batteries for storing energy from renewable energy sources like wind and solar and for backup power supplies in emergencies.

It might be possible to ''make recycling a profitable business in the future,'' said Takashi Sakagami, the president of 4R Energy.

Similarly, G.M. is working with ABB, a Swiss engineering company, to identify ways to use old Chevrolet Volt batteries as backup power sources in the event of power failures, and to improve reliability of electricity grids.

Even after 10 years of driving, a ''second life'' of 20 years for the battery could be viable, said Pablo Valencia, a senior manager at G.M.

And afterward?

''We're still working on that, so stay tuned,'' he said.

BY JAMES KANTER, The International Herald Tribune

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Green Parts - Claims Canada Magazine

At a recent Breakfast Summit on Recycled Parts held in Toronto, three key stakeholder groups – recyclers, insurers and repairers – came together to discuss areas of mutual concern and mutual opportunities. The Summit started an inter-industry dialogue that will begin to pay dividends for the stakeholders, and more importantly for the motoring public and the environment.

Total-loss vehicle claims are a lose-lose situation for everybody involved. They can result in higher claims payouts for the insurer and lost business for the collision repair industry. And it has been shown time and time again that policyholder satisfaction declines when their car is totaled. As these totals continue to rise at an alarming rate, it’s in everyone’s best interest to reverse the trend. Now, more than ever, recycled parts can have a greater role to play in saving a vehicle, and getting it repaired.

Re-using quality vehicle parts is also the ultimate environmental choice. No other product on earth is recycled more than an automobile. Not only does it keep a flood of dangerous toxins from being released into our ground, air and water, it prevents unnecessary use of valuable landfill. Re-using parts also reduces the need for new products to be manufactured and that saves energy and resources and reduces harmful emissions that result from the manufacturing process.

By incorporating more recycled parts into your repair plans, you’ll support a recycling industry that reclaims over 12 million vehicles across North America annually. It’s incumbent on every industry to be responsible stewards of the earth, ensuring a sustainable future for all of us.

But putting a greater focus on recycled parts is more than simply being a good corporate citizen or meeting KPI targets. It’s a smart business decision. By significantly reducing the cost of parts, we should all see a drop in the number of write-offs and non-repaired vehicles.

‘Like, Kind, Quality’ Assurance
One clear advantage of using recycled parts over aftermarket parts is the perfect fit. It is unmatched because you’re getting the original OEM parts made specifically for the year, make and model of that vehicle. That means the original specifications and the right performance.

Today’s reputable auto recyclers ensure there are no unpleasant surprises when you’re ordering recycled parts and do their best to make the process easy and efficient.

During dismantling, every part is inspected and only those that meet strict guidelines and tolerances are offered for resale. Mechanical parts are tested to ensure they’re in proper working condition.

When each component is dismantled for re-use, it is assigned an industry-wide interchange number that identifies which vehicle, model and type it fits. The part is then tagged with a bar code or inventory number, and then entered into a computerized inventory management system. With the click of a mouse, recyclers know what they have in stock and where it's warehoused so they can locate it in seconds. A sophisticated parts locator network connects the inventory data of hundreds of auto recyclers across the country, so if your local recycler doesn’t have the part you need, they will know where to get it.

Body panels and mechanical parts are carefully graded, using a standard set of codes that tells you the condition of the part in detail, including the mileage of the vehicle it came from and a description of any minor damage that might be present. These standards, developed by the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) have been adopted on an international scale and are built in to the inventory systems of all recyclers. Standard cut line diagrams and inclusions in part assemblies help clarify what you are getting when you order. You’ll know exactly what to expect before it arrives at the shop so there are no delays in getting the repair out the door.

As an industry, recyclers are working toward greater detail and uniformity in descriptive language and the addition of 3D imaging in their inventory databases as well as improvements to online ordering tools to make procuring recycled parts as easy as other alternatives going forward.

Auto recyclers also play a key role in the responsible disposition of salvaged vehicles, which in turn creates the inventory of parts to make available to insurers and repairers – a full circle of service that is beneficial to all.

Use Your Local Recycler As A Valuable Resource
While it’s relatively easy to source parts online, the adjusters who have had the most success using more recycled parts have typically forged strategic relationships with a few key parts advisors at their best local recyclers. Not only do these people make it simple, fast and painless to source and order the exact recycled part that’s right for any vehicle; they lend their knowledge and expertise as a broader resource. With a quick phone call, they can go far beyond merely filling an order for parts, and provide advice on all of the collateral parts you might need to go with it to complete your repair plan, many you might not have considered. Using recycled trim kits, door assemblies, radiators, mechanical parts, glass, window motors, light assemblies etc. can often make the difference between a viable repair and a total loss.

The Greening of the Consumer 

In days gone by, many consumers would be reluctant to use “salvage” parts in their repairs. In order to address the issue, the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and their various provincial associations embarked on a significant consumer-focused marketing campaign to re-brand used parts as “Recycled Green Parts”, clearly communicating both the environmental and economic benefits to the general public. In addition, ARC has been instrumental in encouraging, and now mandating, the use of the National Code of Practice for Auto Recyclers, developed with Environment Canada.

This increased brand awareness and dramatic improvement in environmental operations, combined with a fundamental societal shift in “green” consumer behavior has made the use of “Green Parts” not only palatable to most, but desirable. These days, not only do people appreciate being offered a greener alternative in everything they purchase... they expect it. And when they’re rewarded with lower costs and fewer total losses, the payback in customer loyalty can be astounding.

You can find a certified auto recycler near you by accessing the Member roster on the ARC web site at

by Steven Fletcher, Managing Director of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ontario Automotive Recyclers Push for Standards

The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) is asking Ontario's political parties to endorse an industry led initiative to establish an environmental management system for end-of-life vehicles (ELV) in Ontario.

The ELV industry standard (ELV-IS) for environmental management has been developed by OARA in collaboration with the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association (CVMA) and is designed to bring common environmental standards to the ELV recycling sector, while ensuring that automotive consumers do not face the burden of any new recycling fees.

Key Canadian environmental non-government and automotive consumer organizations have endorsed the environmental standards based approach.

This environmental management system will be a North American first for standardizing automotive recycling operations. Two out of 3 ELV generated in Ontario annually are not managed to any environmental standard whatsoever - the system will ensure the safe and responsible environmental management of approximately 550,000 ELV that require environmental decommissioning in Ontario each year.

The objective of ELV industry standard is to:

- Protect Ontario lands and waterways from discharges of hazardous and toxic substances;
- Reduce scrapyard fires;
- Increase reuse and recycling of automobile components and materials, drive continuous improvement in vehicle recycling while avoiding unnecessary economic impacts to auto recycling businesses;
- Create green jobs in the automotive recycling sector - a potential for over 1,500 incremental jobs in auto-parts reuse and recycling;
- Reduce fraudulent swapping of Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) by properly retiring them once a vehicle is recycled;
- Support vehicle manufacturers by ensuring access to a regulated system for ELV recycling where manufacturers choose to establish their own vehicle retirement programs; and
- Avoid consumer eco-fees on automobiles

The proposed environmental management system will require all businesses engaged in the recycling of ELVs in Ontario to be licensed and as a condition of licensing to adhere to a common vehicle decommissioning standard prior to any vehicle being recycled for its parts or metal value.

Building on Environment Canada's voluntary National Code of Practice for Automotive Recyclers developed for the National Vehicle Scrappage Program ("Retire Your Ride"), the new recycler's environmental performance standard will require automobile recyclers to safely remove and recycle environmentally sensitive substances such as fuel, engine oil, brake and transmission fluid, antifreeze, air conditioning refrigerants, and heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

The environmental management system will be managed by a not for profit End-of-Life Vehicle Industry Standards Council that will be governed by a multi-stakeholder board and will ensure that necessary oversight.

The Council will not have any authority or ability to levy fees or charges on automotive consumers or vehicle manufacturers. Rather, the Council's environmental standards oversight activities will be funded through licensing of automotive recyclers. A condition of licensing will be that anyone wishing to drop off an ELV to a licensed recycler will be able to do so free of charge.

Implementation of the new environmental management system requires the Ontario Government to amend Ontario's Environmental Protection Act and the Safety and Consumers Statute Administration Act to facilitate the creation of the environmental management system oversight body.

"Ontario's automobile recyclers welcome the opportunity to work with Ontario's auto manufacturing sector in developing the proposal", stated OARA Executive Director Steve Fletcher.

"Ontario's auto recycling industry already reuses or recycles up to 85% of your typical end-of-life vehicle but a lot of that recycling is not done to any specific environmental management standard. This often results in "cutting corners" resulting in poor environmental management practices. If implemented, the proposed environmental management system will ensure a common decommissioning standard for the substances of greatest environmental concern in your car. That's good for our industry and for Ontario's environment," notes Fletcher.

Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Sandra Pupatello, observed, "Improving and protecting our environment while creating jobs is a top priority for the McGuinty government and I am encouraged to see our automotive industry moving forward with this industry-led initiative."

"This is an important initiative for all automakers", states CVMA President Mark Nantais. "Government support in establishing this system to oversee a common recycling standard for managing vehicles is something we currently do not have. It will ensure that any vehicle retired in Ontario will be recycled in the most environmentally responsible manner possible," adding, "Automobiles are already one of, if not, the most recyclable complex consumer products on the market. Working with the well-established recycling industry to ensure that ELVs are properly decommissioned and recycled brings a higher level of confidence in environment protection."

"We envision a common environmental standard and a self-sustaining means to oversee that standard as the only way to both ensure improved environmental performance and economic growth in auto recycling in Canada" says, Wally Dingman, Chair of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada, adding, "For me, this is all about seeing more cars processed in a way that results in both better environmental outcomes and more jobs and investment in the almost two thousand auto recyclers operating across Canada."


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The End-Of-Life Cycle: Achieving a sustainable automotive industry, starting with end of life

By Susan Sawyer-Beaulieu and Edwin K. L. Tam

Susan Sawyer-Beaulieu, PhD, a post doctorate fellow at the University of Windsor, recently presented results from her research at the 2010 International Round Table on Auto Recycling. Sawyer-Beaulieu has taken a scientific approach to learning how dismantling and shredding facilities manage end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). She is using life-cycle assessment methods to identify the efficiencies and inefficiencies of the ELV dismantling and shredding process. This will allow the auto recycling industry to benchmark the environmental contributions dismantlers make in the overall vehicle end-of-life recycling process. Here are some of her findings:

An estimated 14 million vehicles are retired from the road annually in the US and Canada, representing 20 million metric tonnes of mixed materials—metals, plastics, rubber, textiles, paper, wood, glass, ceramics, etc. (for an average “equivalent passenger vehicle” weight of 1455 kg). In Canada and the US, an estimated 14.4 million metric tonnes of metals are recovered from ELVs and recycled annually. These estimates, however, are largely based on recycled metals statistics derived from the scrap metals industry and average vehicle statistics published in literature. In addition, they do not account for parts and materials recovered by dismantlers and directed for reuse, remanufacturing and recycling independently of what is directed for shredding and metals recovery.

With the collaboration of several dismantlers and one shredding facility, we performed case studies, collected data and analyzed it to establish the mass fl ow of parts and materials through these facilities. The dismantling data were from both full-service and self-service operations. The parts and material mass fl ows were established as a percentage of the mass of high-salvage and low-salvage ELVs (HSELVs and LSELVs) processed by the participating dismantlers. What was the outcome?As much as 11.6 per cent of the ELVs’ weight entering the dismantling process are recovered and directed for either reuse, remanufacturing or recycling, including the recovered fl uids. The remaining 88.4 per cent of the weight is the leftover ELV hulks and “scrapped-out” parts that are directed for shredding and metals recovery. As much as 5.7 per cent of the ELVs (both LSELVs and HSELVs) were parts recovered and directed for reuse—4.9 per cent of the weight was from HSELVs and 0.8 per cent weight was from LSELVs.

Parts recovered for reuse included 151 part types from HSELVs and 598 part types from LSELVs. The reusable parts from LSELVs are based on parts sales through a self-service “UPIC” facility. Reusable HSELV parts recovery represented 36.9 per cent of the weight of the HSELVs processed. Reusable LSELV parts recovery was 0.93 per cent of the weight of the LSELVs processed.

Core parts recovered from HSELVs and sold for remanufacturing were only 0.1 per cent of the weight of the ELVs processed and consisted of six part types: starters, steering pumps, steering gears, calipers, alternators and A/C compressors. These are parts commonly collected and sold for remanufacturing, but are not all-inclusive. Recycled parts—tires, batteries, catalytic converters and mercury switches—amounted to almost four per cent of the weight of the ELVs processed. Tires represented a little more than half of the recycled parts.

Recovered fluids amounted to approximately 1.9 per cent weight processed ELVs’ weight—1.4 per cent directed for reuse (oils/lubricants) and 0.5 per cent that are recycled (antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, gasoline).

The estimated parts and materials recovery of almost 12 per cent by weight is based on data principally from one dismantler, supplemented with data from the other participating dismantlers to fi ll in data gaps. It is also based on a ratio of one HSELV processed for every seven to eight LSELVs or for every tonne of HSELVs processed approximately 6.5 tonnes of LSELVs are processed.

This ratio of HSELVs to LSELVs will vary from dismantler to dismantler, and consequently influence dismantling recoveries dismantler to dismantler. For dismantlers that process only HSELVs, parts and/or materials recoveries for reuse, remanufacture and “pre-shredder” recycling may be greater per tonne ELVs processed compared to this case. In contrast, for facilities that principally process LSELVs, parts and materials recoveries for reuse, remanufacture and “pre-shredder” recycling will likely be less than what was found in this case study; more materials will be directed for shredding and metals recovery.

Dismantling recoveries will also be influenced by the types and ages of vehicles processed, and local and/or regional parts demands and markets. For example, the re-manufacturable parts recovery established in this case study scenario, i.e. 0.1 per cent by weight of ELVs processed, is a relatively low value. The part types and part quantities that may be sold for remanufacturing will be driven by regional market demands, the availability and locality of parts re-manufacturers and the specifi c parts types the re-manufacturers’ process.

The participating dismantler indicated that the recovery of re-manufacturable core parts was a relatively low-volume business for them, principally because of the lack of locally available parts re-manufacturers to make core part recovery justifiable. Even though this case study scenario is based on data principally from one dismantler, it is a representative benchmark of dismantled parts and materials recoveries. We do not know, however, if these recoveries are high, low, or average compared to the amount of dismantled parts recovered on average from the entire North American “ELV fleet.”

According to the 3R principles—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—reuse is preferable to recycling. Why is reuse preferable? Under what circumstances and by how much? These questions have been a challenge for auto recyclers to answer. Life-cycle assessment methods can help provide answers. Even though recovery and recycling operations recover materials, they are not free of environmental impacts or burdens. They consume resources and produce emissions. Instead of a more traditional comparisons of these burdens against regulatory compliance limits or guidelines, or relative to economic performance (e.g., cost benefit analysis), a life-cycle analysis can provide a more complete accounting of the materials and resource inputs and outputs for the dismantling and shredding process.

This articled appeared in the January 2011 issue of Canadian Auto Recyclers magazine.

Monday, July 25, 2011

CCIF and Automotive Recyclers of Canada Breakfast Summit on Recycled Parts

Meeting Report

To define and establish consensus on the issues that matter to all parties concerning the use of recycled parts in collision repair and to establish a plan for addressing them.

Presenters and panellists: Victor Pasnyk of Allstate Insurance, Larry Jefferies of CARSTAR Automotive, Philippe Fugère of Lecavalier Auto Parts and Dominic Vetere of Dom’s Auto Parts.

Key points from panel discussion and presentations:

An Insurer’s Perspective - Victor Pasnyk
Current View:
1.2M vehicles are scrapped in Canada annually, potentially providing a healthy supply of salvage.
Very competitive market between aftermarket and recycled parts. OE parts are sometimes competitive with the alternatives, but data doesn’t show the reason for OE parts choice.
Recyclers play a role in repair cycle time, so availability and speed of delivery are important.
Currently these factors vary across the country, for example with challenges in Eastern Canada and Alberta in terms of availability, while supply and quality seems good in Ontario and Quebec.
Important to educate vehicle owners on the reasons for using recycled parts. Choice of language and consistent messaging also important. Recyclers need to take ownership of this initiative.
Estimating systems and specialized software are helpful tools, but many repairers still feel the need to call to the recycler to verify quality and availability.
Accuracy very important, particularly the year. For example if the repair vehicle is 2003, the recycled part cannot be older.

Barriers to Greater Use of Recycled Parts:
Convincing the vehicle owner – all stakeholders must play a role in this.
Accuracy of parts descriptions – standards exist, but there is still room for greater clarity and detail, e.g. standards regarding “included parts” with front clips or door assemblies.
The added cost of unexpected “clean up” times

Recycled parts counter staff need to be engaged, asking the right questions and assisting the appraiser to identify other alternative parts opportunities.
Information providers keep improving access to recycled parts inventory, e.g. national live inventory, 360° imaging.
Total loss numbers continue to rise, but this undesirable trend should motivate consideration of more economical, quality alternative parts utilization in order to render more vehicles repairable.

A Collision Repairer’s Perspective - Larry Jefferies
Current View:
Recycled parts usage has increased slightly in recent years to 11-13% of total parts value.
Repairer consolidation creating opportunities for more structured relationships with parts suppliers.
Recyclers able to demonstrate “best in class” qualities more likely to succeed with consolidators.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are being used by insurers to measure and monitor the performance of their repairers in terms of severity (total cost), repair/replace times, cycle time (e.g. time from arrival of damaged vehicle in shop to delivery).
Vehicle complexity increasing and making parts selling more difficult. Need for recycler training.
Too much reliance on telephone to discuss quality, parts included, price etc. Highly inefficient.

Barriers to Greater Use of Recycled Parts:
Lack of certainty on quality, price and consistency. Why buy a recycled part if alternatives provide greater certainty for the same price?
Why buy a recycled part if the dollar or percentage margin is less than that for an alternative part?
Repairers want to repair more vehicles, but opportunities are decreasing as total losses rise.

Address the pricing model. Repairers need same gross profit margins on recycled parts as aftermarket and OE parts.
Important to have efficient communications tools available and to adapt to market trends in parts procurement for OE and Aftermarket parts. Work in harmony with the technology providers. Repairers and insurers should address ease-of-doing business issue between all parties.
Live on-line recycled parts availability with 360° views would encourage greater use.
Demonstrate to repairers that recycler staff are educated/qualified in understanding their needs.
The parts that can reduce total losses (air bags) need to be addressed with insurers and a solution found. Find a solution to their key issue of liability.
Recycler customer service to become more professional in customer handling, clarity of communication and consistency in using established grading and standardized descriptions.
Switch from “wrecking yard” terminology and image to “recycler” and “green” would be a positive step in changing attitudes.

A Recycler’s Perspective - Philippe Fugère and Dominic Vetere
Current View
· Quality Parts: Standards and standardized descriptions exist. Must use them.
· Pricing based on supply and demand plus history.
· Availability – used to be local, but now global. Large quantity of salvage being shipped out of province and country, resulting in quality parts shortages.
· Cycle times: No back orders – If you see it, we have it.
· Airbags – systems exists – BC & QC recent developments. Working towards incorporating recycled OEM air bags into the repair process will lower vehicle total losses considerably.

Barriers to Greater Use of Recycled Parts:
Recyclers’ image - i.e. junk yard, barking dog etc.

Become more professional in customer service / ask the right questions / become one-stop shop.
Appropriate packaging to reduce damage.
Stakeholders to develop better understanding of each other.

Group Discussion
In the open forum that followed the presentations and panel discussion, there was consensus on the issues raised as barriers and opportunities:
· Profitability – repairer need for adequate margin, plus efficient procurement process.
· Recycler Training and Engagement:
- Customer responsiveness / understanding repairer needs and insurer demands.
- Technical issues, vehicle technology, repair technology – Engage I-CAR.
- Consistent application of existing grading standards. Understand meaning of “insurance grade”
· Education of vehicle owner on “Green Parts” OE recycled parts.
· Potential recycled airbag accreditation – reduce total losses and repair costs.
· Learn from experience and different salvage/recycled parts use models across the provinces and around the world.
· Use IT to make parts availability, visibility and quality consistent enough to eliminate need for telephone calls. 360° views, live inventory.
· Consider ways to increase the flow of available salvage vehicles to the Canadian and local markets.

One outcome of this meeting was clarity on the key issues and agreement between the principal stakeholders, i.e. insurer, collision repairer, recycler, on the maintaining the momentum to address them in a collaborative way. Therefore, it was agreed that a Recycled Parts task force would be established to develop an action plan designed to overcome the barriers and to exploit the opportunities identified and agreed at this meeting.

The following people volunteered to join the task force which will be co-ordinated by Mike Bryan of CCIF and Steve Fletcher of ARC. Once the task force has defined its initial goals and action plan, it will communicate these and its progress to all stakeholder groups through CCIF, ARC and the trade press.

Recycled Parts Task Force:
Victor Pasnyk, Allstate Insurance
Joe Carvallo, Economical Insurance
John Sankey, Intact Insurance

Collision Repairers:
Larry Jefferies, CARSTAR Automotive
Terrance Bradimore, C.K. Collision Centres
Mike Kaplaniak, Fix Auto

Philippe Fugère, Lecavalier Auto Parts
Dominic Vetere, Dom’s Auto Parts
Benjy Katz, LKQ Dominion Auto Recycling
Michael Carcone, Carcone’s Auto Recycling
Mike Maio, Boston Auto Wreckers

Service Providers
Kirk Monger, Hollander, a Solera Company
Diane Chaine, Progi-Pac
Tim Malone, Mitchell
Michel Caron, Audatex
Roger Schroder,

Sponsor Thanks
We would like to thank the sponsors of this meeting for their support. It is much appreciated:

Abrams Towing
Car-Part .com
Hollander, a Solera Company
Impact Auto Auctions
LKQ Corporation
Marsh Canada
Wholesale Auto Parts Warehouses

July 5, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Automotive Recyclers of Canada To Roll Out Final Phase of Nationwide Certification Process

At a recent meeting in Banff, the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) backed up their commitment to having all of its members certified to the National Code of Practice for Auto Recyclers with the funding to complete all of the remaining audits across the country. “For years, a national certification program has been a dream of the association. We have always pushed our provincial associations and their members to follow best environmental practices in every aspect of their operations, but up until now there has never been a way to accurately and objectively measure both the facilities and the processes everyone used.” said Steve Fletcher, Executive Director of ARC.

The National Code of Practice for Auto Recyclers was developed by ARC for Environment Canada to support the national “Retire Your Ride” program. It includes stringent compliance requirements for a recycling operation to properly and legally process a vehicle. ARC and their member associations retained an independent auditor to physically visit all of the recyclers who were participating in the program to evaluate their business against the standardized protocol. Any potential shortcomings were rectified and confirmed by the auditor before a recycler was deemed certified. Only certified recyclers were permitted to participate in the national scrappage program.

“As successful as the Retire Your Ride certification process was, we recognized that there were still some gaps in the national coverage.” stated Fletcher. “Now we’re putting our money where our mouth is to get the rest of the recyclers certified so we can finally state with absolute confidence that all of our members do things the right way”. Going forward, any recycler who wants to join a provincial association will first need to complete the certification audit as a condition of membership.

Every vehicle that a Certified Recycler handles goes through a methodical process to maximize reclamation and minimize environmental impact. Good reusable parts, batteries, mercury switches, oils, fluids, coolants, gasoline, and refrigerants are all removed and properly managed before the remaining hulk is sent for metal recycling.

The next step, says Fletcher is to push the government for legislation that will make it mandatory for anyone handling end of life vehicles to be certified. “With certification, people know that a recycler has been thoroughly checked out by a third-party auditor. They know they’re dealing with one of the good guys. But I’ve seen some of the nightmares out there. There are guys who buy cars just to crush them and sell them for scrap metal. They let toxic fluids and heavy metals just escape into the soil and groundwater. They don’t recycle any usable parts and don’t care about the environmental damage they’re doing. I can tell you there is a real need for legislation to make sure everyone handles vehicles responsibly and properly.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

De-registration and recycling of end-of-life vehicles

Renewed interest has been raised in the de-registration and recycling of end-of-life vehicles in EU Member States. End-of-life vehicle treatment and recycling has been legislated by the European Union in the ELV Directive (2000/53/EC) and has been implemented in the national legislation of all 27 member states.

The ELV Directive has been a source of concern for many however, since 14 out of 27 member states didn’t meet the required recycling quota in 2006, as reported by Eurostat (1). Additionally, the reported recycling quota differ greatly between member states. This is attributed to differences in interpretation of the monitoring and reporting standards.

Another issue recently emphasized by several parties is the influence of illegal operators in the market. The European car industry carries out its producer responsibilities as stipulated by the ELV Directive 2000/53/EC and has set up collection networks in all member states. Requirements for authorized treatment facilities have also been recorded in Annex I of the aforementioned Directive. These requirements have to be met by all facilities operating in the national collection networks. This is enforced be governmental licensing procedures in the different member states.

Because of the relatively high value of metals and car components, cars have become an attractive trade product and non-licensed parties are trying to claim their share of the lucrative market. In many cases however, these parties are not upholding the necessary environmental standards nor are they reporting their recycling performance to government and/or national recycling organizations. This creates a uneven playing field and poses economical problems for recycling parties operating by the book.

Several organizations have researched the problem with these “leakages” in the recycling chain. ARN, the Dutch expertise centre for mobility recycling has found cutting of car hulks by illegal operators and waste shipments with erroneous waste transport codes to be among the causes of these leaks. Another cause of leaks are so called ‘paper exports’, transactions happening only on paper without actual export of a vehicle. This is giving illegal dismantlers the possibility to perform any illegitimate action since the vehicle does not exists anymore in the country of export (because of deregistration). Deregistration/export in an exporting country should only be possible after registration in the importing country. ARN and her partners are taking action to mitigate the problems where possible (2). ACEA, the industry organization for European automobile manufacturers proposes a number of actions in its recent position paper on the issue (3):

- Link vehicle deregistration to national registration system, if not already in place.
- Ensure that the national process has no possibility of leakage that enables continued activity by illegal operators.
- Close supervision and prosecution of illegal treatment operators with mandatory shut‐down of facility.

It is clear from these statements and the aforementioned statistics that national road registration authorities hold one of the keys to solving this issue and creating a watertight recycling network for end-of-life vehicles. This is not just of importance for car recyclers and manufacturers, but for the environment in Europe as a whole and for the preservation of valuable resources present in today’s end-of-life vehicles. The European Commission has already started a dozen infringement procedures against member states related to the ELV Directive, and more could follow. The time to act is now.


From Association of European Vehicle and Driver Registration Authorities (EReg)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quality Quest: The quandary of quality control

Written by Clint Wilson, Ideal Auto Wrecking, Chilliwack BC

When I first opened my business at the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed age of 27, I had big dreams about quality control. I remember telling my wife, “I’m going to have an entire work station with bright lights, polishers, waxes, wire brushes, sand paper, paint, primer, window cleaner, solvent, cot- ton rags, etc. etc. and not one of my parts is going to go out without being thoroughly inspected and detailed to the nines!” In theory, I still feel this way. And I do have a nice detailing station, which we use daily.

The reality of the situation however is that some times we all get busy or the yardman has an off day, or the delivery driver puts a suspension on top of a door glass or…well if you’re in the auto recycling business, I’m sure you know what I mean. But at the end of the day I still think that I—and many of my recycling friends—do a pretty good job at sending out a clean product.

Also I preach quality control like the gospel to anyone who will listen. (Sorry, BC guys, if I keep meetings running too long sometimes.) So you can imagine my chagrin when I began hearing from collision and insurance industry insiders that the high plateau of quality we once occupied has been dropping like a basement-bound elevator.

I confirmed this after I brought it up at a liaison meeting between BC recyclers and collision repair facility owners/managers just a few weeks before writing this article. After asking around and talking with my own brethren I found a theory that’s been forming as of late.

I truly believe that the current economic downturn is causing many of us to send out parts that we wouldn’t normally try to pass off on our worst enemies. Think about it: when the phones are ringing and the fur is flying, “Sorry this bumper cover has a little tear, I don’t think you’re going to like it, but I took the liberty of finding you one elsewhere. Would you like the yard’s number or shall I order it up for you?”

Which really is the way it should be, at least when dealing on insurance claims. But when things grind to a halt, payroll stays the same, the price of salvage is through the roof and we’re all fighting over the same meagre table scraps “let’s throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” starts looking like a pretty attractive answer.

Ninety-eight per cent of the people who have worked the counter in a recycling yard have been guilty of this at one time or another (and the other two per cent are liars). So what do we do about it? I hate to say it, but it’s pretty darn simple. Firstly we have to get out into our holding areas more often and look at the stuff we are shipping before it’s on the delivery truck. And for the parts that don’t pass your scrutiny? You all know that you can still sell them to rebuilders. If your sales are still hurting enough to want to try to pass less-than- perfect parts on to big quality collision facilities then you have to pick up the phone and represent your product accordingly.

If they were never going to use your parts in the first place then now is the time they’ll tell you, saving both of you costs and hassles. But stay truthful and you will at least keep the lines of communication open. I find that trying to talk them out of using a part some times works best. If they are basically begging you to send the door with three hours on it because it’s the last one in existence, what do you think the chances are they’ll return it? I sell many damaged parts to large chain shops, and most of the time they like what they are getting; many times I am getting them out of a jam and—more importantly—they are not getting a Gomer Pyle.

What’s a Gomer Pyle, you ask? Firstly you have to be old enough to remember the Jim Nabors character and his catch phrase. But you’ve all had one at one time or another. You order something from another recycler expecting a shining jewel and without warning a lump of coal with a turd stuck to it arrives at your door. “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” The term Gomer Pyle can also apply to a part that is returned to you without a phone call and usually sent collect freight just to rub a little salt into your wounds.

That’s it in a nutshell folks. Do what you can and sell what you can to ride out the current economic storm, but keep the Gomer Pyles to a minimum by looking at your parts with both eyes, polishing what can be polished, and picking up the phone to accurately represent what can’t be. Your customer appreciates it.

This article appeared in the January 2011 issue of Canadian Auto Recyclers magazine.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Management of end of life vehicles needs overhaul

The dramatic increase in scrap metal prices in the lead up to the global financial crisis saw the number of players in the end of life vehicle (ELV) collection business grow significantly and also led to a surge in older cars being stolen off the street for their scrap value.

Notwithstanding the sudden fall in prices in late 2008, the gradual return to historical values has seen the number of players in the scrapped vehicle field stay largely unchanged and competition for vehicles remains fierce.

The scrap metal industry is characterised by three tiers. At the top of the tree there are a small number of tier one corporations that operate capital intensive metal shredding and waste sorting facilities. The second tier is made up of a larger number of small to medium enterprises that buy all types of scrap metal, including whole or crushed cars and who on-sell to a tier one processor or export directly to overseas markets. Tier three is made up of a very large number of independents who collect cars and other scrap metal direct from the public and includes auto recyclers who sell the remains of dismantled cars to tier one and two metal recyclers.

With an estimated 600,000 ELVs processed each year, recycling motor cars is a substantial national business that also delivers important environmental benefits when vehicles are processed using best practice recycling methods.

Unfortunately, there are two main problems with the ELV recycling system as it currently operates. The first concerns the negative environmental impacts associated with the very large percentage of vehicles that are scrapped without first being de-commissioned in an environmentally responsible way. The second is that there is presently no practical means for metal recyclers in any tier to verify the provenance or even record the identities of the cars they receive. Once a car is crushed and shredded its identifiers and any potential criminal evidence such as fingerprints and DNA are lost forever.

The NMVTRC estimates the number of cars stolen in ‘theft for scrap’ rackets at around 3,500 per year although it could easily exceed that number. There is a strong likelihood that a significant proportion of the body shells of a further 9,000 stolen and stripped cars also end up in metal shredders.

Under the current ELV system metal recyclers have no practical means to verify the identities of vehicles to be crushed and shredded.

In 2010 the NMVTRC commissioned a report to examine the structure and day-to-day functioning of the Australian metal recycling industry and how the vehicle identity issue might be addressed.
The report took a pragmatic approach when examining possible means of addressing the current problems. It concluded that given the volume of vehicles that are processed each year and the industry structures that currently exist, measures such as simply extending the written-off vehicle notification requirements to all ELVs by themselves would not be sufficient to deter criminal activity.

There are no simple fixes to these problems and the ultimate solution lies in a significant re-alignment of the end of life vehicle process, most probably along the lines of the UK vehicle scrappage scheme. This may ultimately include introducing the concept of the last registered operator having ongoing financial responsibility for a vehicle until they can demonstrate that it has been delivered to an accredited treatment facility (ATF). The ATF would be legally responsible for, and have the facilities, to verify the legal status of the vehicle, properly de-commission it, and notify their state transport agency that the vehicle has been recycled before it could be processed as scrap.

The current policy and industry settings present significant challenges to introducing such a scheme here in Australia however the NMVTRC is committed to working with relevant agencies and industry groups to find practical responses to these challenges.

National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council

Monday, July 11, 2011

Atlantic Association Adopts National Code of Practice for Auto Recycling

Until recently, the general public really had no measurable assurance of environmental responsibility when they turned an end-of-life vehicle over. There was no sign to tell them whether they were dealing with one of the good guys or not when it came to handling that vehicle properly. That has all changed with a bold move by the Automotive Recyclers Association of Atlantic Canada (ARAAC) to require all of its members to be certified to the National Code of Practice for Auto Recyclers.

Derek Covey from Covey Auto Recyclers in Blandford NS, the President of the association explains the new rule. “We have always encouraged our members to follow best environmental practices in every aspect of their operations. In fact, we have long advocated that these kinds of regulations should be legislated for anyone handling end of life vehicles. But until now, there was never a way to accurately and objectively measure both the facilities and the processes our members used. This code was developed by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) for Environment Canada to support the national “Retire Your Ride” program. It includes some pretty stringent compliance requirements for a recycling operation to properly and legally process a vehicle. So with all of our members now certified to that code, we can finally state with absolute confidence that all of our members do things the right way.”

ARAAC and ARC retained an independent auditor to physically visit all of the 27 members in the four Atlantic Provinces and evaluate their business against the standardized protocol. Any potential shortcomings were rectified and confirmed by the auditor before a recycler was certified. Any recycler who wants to join the association in the future will first need to complete the certification audit as a condition of membership.

Every vehicle that a Certified member handles goes through a methodical process to maximize reclamation and minimize environmental impact. Good reusable parts, batteries, mercury switches, oils, fluids, coolants, gasoline, and refrigerants are all removed and properly managed before the remaining hulk is sent for metal recycling.

As a veteran of the auto recycling industry, Covey knows all too well the need for this push to regulate the industry. “I wish we could say that everybody processes end-of-life vehicles the way ARAAC members do. I’ve seen firsthand some of the real nightmares out there. There are guys who buy cars just to crush them and sell them for the value of the metal. They let toxic fluids and heavy metals just escape into the soil and groundwater. They don’t recycle any usable parts and don’t care about the damage they’re doing to the environment. With this certification, people know that our operator have been thoroughly checked out by a third-party auditor. They know they’re dealing with one of the good guys.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hollander, eBay Motors bringing recyclers online

A couple of years ago Hollander and eBay Motors announced a partnership that promised to revolutionize auto recyclers’ ability to sell their parts to a wider market. According to Hollander, the partnership is going extremely well and is even having some unexpected benefits.

Currently, Hollander has 300 recyclers selling on eBay who account for over two million listings, says Kirk Monger, sales manager national accounts at Hollander. Monger told Collision Repair the feedback they’ve received from the sellers has been overwhelmingly positive.

“There was a very small number that were selling on eBay and some of our larger sellers have converted over from doing it on their own to having the integrated solution,” says Monger. He adds that the growing number of recyclers selling online has to do with numerous costs benefits and simplicity associated with the Hollander eLink program.

How the program works is recyclers use Hollander’s Powerlink Yard Management tool to keep track of their inventory. Any item in Powerlink automatically generates an eBay listing in Blackthorne, an eBay owned listings management tool. In Blackthorne, sellers can choose which parts they want to post online and edit those posts individually or as a group. Thousands of parts can be posted on eBay Motors’ website instantaneously.

However, Monger points out, the benefits of this partnership go beyond the ability to sell parts online, which anyone can do. Recyclers, as part of the Hollander program, do not have to pay for Blackthorne, can add subtitles to their listing at no cost, do not pay a listing fee, do not pay for an eBay store, and get Selling Manager Pro for free. The only fee for the recycler is a success fee for parts that are sold on eBay.

For Miller’s Auto Recycling – one of the largest Canadian users of the program with around 40,000 parts listed on eBay at any given time – the biggest benefit is the previously untapped market they now have access to.

“It’s opening up the world market,” says Evan Miller, noting that his company has been a part of the program for two years. “It’s great, we’re selling all over the world right now.”

As well, Hollander also conducts case studies to judge the effectiveness of the program, says Monger, and it noticed an unexpected benefit.

“The sellers will tell you that for every item that they sell through the eBay program, they’re selling one to two additional items that aren’t going through eBay,” he says. Essentially, Monger adds, eBay is acting as a marketing tool. Customers who have a positive experience will next time go directly to that seller’s shop or website instead of back to eBay.

Though eBay is now fully dedicated to the partnership – they have a team of account reps who deal solely with Hollander sellers – it wasn’t always the case.

“We had originally started talking to them several years ago and it took several years until we had an agreement,” explains Monger. “Initially eBay was kind of lukewarm to the whole idea and now they are so dedicated to our partnership.”

The dedication is paying off because the idea of selling parts on eBay is gaining traction in the industry, says Monger. He will be giving a presentation on the benefits and success of the eBay partnership at the Florida Auto Dismantlers and Recyclers Association Convention in July.

With an increased number of non-Hollander sellers showing interest and a very large untapped market, Hollander does not intend to slow the program’s growth. Particularly, Monger adds, Hollander is hoping to bring more Canadian recyclers to eBay.

Collision Repair Magazine by Michael Raine

Monday, June 20, 2011

Premature End of Life Vehicles

From Salvage Wire Blog

By their definition Premature ELV’s are vehicles that have not survived the expected life span of 12-15 years that most vehicle manufacturers build into their vehicles.

The reasons for this can be many, however I suspect that most will be due to accident, fire, flood or other events that result in an insurance claim.

Insurance engineers completing vehicle inspections need to determine if the vehicle could be repaired economically; if repair is not viable, then vehicles need to be dealt with as salvage and the inspecting engineer must determine if the vehicle is safe to repair, or must it be removed from use?

One of the most important decisions that an engineer makes is deciding if the vehicle ‘could’ or ‘should’ be repaired; the Engineer needs to know the extent of damage, potential method of repair and availability of parts.

Knowledge of vehicle construction is very important here, especially as manufacturers try to save weight whilst developing stronger vehicle bodies, the greater use of high strength steel makes repair increasingly difficult and any motor salvage inspection needs to balance repair potential against passenger safety – in other words, can any professional engineer signing a vehicle write-off report confirm that the vehicle could be repaired to a standard that would maintain occupant safety in the event of another accident.

Developed over many years the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Code of Practice for Motor Salvage assists the decision making process when inspecting vehicles in the UK that are written-off.

The ABI code has four categories of salvage that are:

• Category A. Scrap vehicles, good only for the shredder and metal recycling
• Category B. Break only – bolt on parts can be re-used, but the vehicle structure is so badly damaged that this must be removed from use and destroyed.
• Category C. Repairable Salvage – repairs using normal methods of insurance repair (brand new parts, manufacturer labour) exceed the value of the vehicle, however cheaper labour, second hand parts, or ignoring ‘cosmetic’ damage means that the vehicle could be repaired in the salvage industry.
• Category D. Constructive Total Loss – where the repair cost of the vehicle when added to other costs, such as loss of use, or the value of the salvage, exceeds the value of the vehicle, then insurers can decide to treat the vehicle as a write-off and minimise their costs. As an example, a £10,000 vehicle with £8,000 worth of damage may return £3,000 salvage, so a settlement of £10,000 less £3,000 salvage return gives a final outlay of £7,000 against the claim. Less than the assessed repair cost of £8,000.

There are a number of factors that need to be reviewed when inspecting potential write-offs, including type of damage, repair required to maintain occupant protection, and availability of parts; a few examples are detailed below.

Flood Damage
Factors to consider include type of water – fresh, salt or contaminated (sewage), height of water, and length of time in water.
Current trends towards increasingly complex electronics will mean that any salt water damage will render the vehicle unrepairable, and if a vehicle has been submerged to a significant depth – for example water high enough to contaminate air bags) then the vehicle should be removed from use.

Fire Damage
Excessive heat removes the strength from High Strength Steel, so fire damage to structural areas of newer vehicles is serious, I would contend that, unless the damage is very localised, all fire damaged vehicles should not be repaired.

Parts Availability
A vehicle severely structurally damaged where parts are not available should not be repaired, releasing one of these vehicles into the motor salvage market for repair could lead to a substandard repair being completed and the general public being put in danger as an unsafe vehicle is in use. Engineers need to know what parts are available from the vehicle manufacturers and any safeguards they put in place. For example, many manufacturers place controls on the supply of replacement bodyshells that could result in these not being available to the salvage industry, thus compromising a safe repair on motor salvage.

In summary, all motor engineers inspecting vehicles for insurance repair need to be fully aware of current vehicle design and construction, they need to know repair techniques for all types of vehicles, and also decide if a salvage vehicle can be safely repaired and placed back into use.
And we haven’t started on electric vehicles yet!

Here is a downloadable copy of the ABI Code of Practice for Motor Salvage.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You Don’t Need To Be a “Do-It-Yourselfer” to Save On Recycled Parts

Mention recycled auto parts, and you might conjure up images of having to rummage through old hulks with your tool box looking for whatever you can find. The truth is, although the old u-pick lots still exist for those that want them, the auto recycling industry has evolved far beyond that. It has become a very sophisticated sourcing network for anyone who wants to save money on repairing their vehicle, while doing something good for the environment to boot.

“These days, we can literally source a part for any vehicle in an instant.” says Steve Fletcher, Managing Director of the Ontario Auto Recyclers Association (OARA) “All of our members have a warehouse full of quality recycled parts all cleaned, tested, and ready to go. Their entire inventory is tagged with a stock number and tracked by computer, so whether it’s for an individual or a repair shop, all it takes is one call to any recycler and with a click of a mouse, they’ll know where the part is located.”

Using a recycled part to repair a vehicle can save a lot of money. Most recycled parts average about half the price of a new part.

So if it’s so easy to find quality recycled parts, why don’t all auto repair shops offer consumers the money-saving option? “We find that some shops still shy away because of old beliefs about how customers might perceive recycled parts, and how that might reflect on their image. The more progressive shops understand that there has been a significant shift in public perception.” offers Fletcher. “The new reality of the modern auto recycling industry resonates with a lot of vehicle owners. They appreciate being offered a less expensive, more environmentally friendly option when they bring their vehicle in for repair and the forward-thinking shops are recognizing that. They see it as a customer service issue, so in some cases they are actually making it part of their quoting system. Where it’s appropriate, they’ll automatically show the customer the difference between a new part and a recycled part and give them the choice.”

Even if your auto repair shop doesn’t actively promote the use of recycled parts, the vast majority of them do offer the option whenever a customer requests it. In fact, most of the auto recyclers today do the vast majority of their business with auto body and auto repair shops, not with people fixing their own cars.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sonshine Auto Parts - The Auto Recycler

While other kids aspired to become athletes or rock stars, Denis Desjardins fulfilled his dream to recycle car parts.

In the pre-dawn hours of a recent morning, the RCMP counter-terrorism unit descended upon the yard of wrecked cars at Sonshine Auto Parts in Cumberland. Snipers came from all directions, across farmers' fields on Innes, Dunning and French Hill roads, hoping their intervention in a kidnapping would end successfully. They brought with them a small remote-controlled drone, and weaponry capable of inflicting considerable damage from great distances. Shots were fired.

Any neighbours whose sleep was disturbed by the commotion that morning might have looked at their bedside clock, gathered their bearings and returned to sleep. After all, they'd seen this before.

The RCMP conducts training exercises in Denis Desjardins' car yard five or six times a year. Much more common are the firefighters from various regional departments, whom he lets use the lot's junkers -there are approximately 2,500 of them in the yard at any given time -each week to simulate accidents and practise extraction techniques.

It all seems like the ideal playground for a young boy's imagination, and in fact if you ask Desjardins what his childhood ambition was for himself, he spreads his arms to embrace the 100 acres of cars, crushers and parts, and says simply, "Exactly what you're looking at. This is all I wanted to do."

Denis Desjardins' car lot is a testament to bad driving. Row after row of neatly aligned cars, trucks and SUVs -the majority of them insurance writeoffs -face south, each perched on wheel rims to provide easy access and keep them from freezing into the ground in the winter. Most are victims of rear-end collisions, the front or back staved in and bumpers crumpled. Others have been T-boned. Deployed but now deflated airbags offer the hope that passengers and drivers escaped unharmed. Shattered windshields and melted steering columns suggest others may not have been so lucky.

"Every car has a story to tell," says Desjardins. "On a full moon, you see the yard and I'm sure there are some stories coming out of those cars.

"Hopefully there are no injuries involved, but I'm sure that from the back seat to everywhere else, there are stories to be told. It's fascinating, it is."

Each year, Desjardins and his staff of 40 process more than 3,000 automobiles, draining hazardous fluids, inventorying and removing parts, and eventually crushing what remains for scrap. When your mechanic or body shop tells you they'll try to save you some money by tracking down a used alternator or fender, Sonshine -named for Desjardin's nickname of "Sonny" -is one of the places they'll likely look. His parts business extends to Cornwall and Brockville, to Maniwaki and Montreal.

The parts he most popularly sells are those damaged in frontand rear-end collisions: bumpers, hoods, tail lights and headlights. He's one of those people for whom bad weather is good business.

"When you hear in a morning in the middle of February of 365 accidents in town, that's white gold to us," he says. "That's white gold. This is good to us."

Winter is their busiest season, but Desjardins notes that fair weather can also be a boon. "Say a long weekend in May, everyone's gone camping or they want to do their flowers. Everybody's out in full force -lots of accidents.

"And very warm weather, in July and August, cars overheat. That's good for us, too."

Desjardins, 47, was born and raised in Orléans. He loved cars as a youth, tinkering with antiques and hot rods when he was in high school.

After graduation, he turned down scholarship offers and started his own business -Cumberland Towing -which he eventually built into an eight-truck empire.

But he always wanted a recycling yard, and recalls that when he and his wife, Josée, were dating, they'd sometimes drive by Cumberland Auto Parts on Dunning Road, and Denis would tell her that he intended to one day buy the business. She promised to leave him if he did.

In 1993, he lived up to his word and she didn't. Their son, Shawn, was born that fall.

The business grew, starting with about 15 acres of cars and eventually reaching the 80 acres it currently uses.

In 2000, the Ford Motor Company, believing a cradle-to-grave program -making auto manufacturers responsible for the entire life of their products -was headed to North America from Europe, bought his business. Desjardins, who retained title to the land, managed it for them.

When Ford got out of the usedparts business two years later and sold the business to a third party, Desjardins retired to a life of golf and pickup hockey. A year later, bored with his new-found freedom, he bought a parcel of land on Herbert Drive and started again. In 2006, the original business was put up for sale and Desjardins returned to Dunning Road.

His house, located on a twoacre lot severed from the original 100, overlooks his car yard.

"It's my passion," he says. "It always will be. I enjoy doing it. I must spend 70 or 80 hours a week here.

"You're probably going to say I don't have a life. This is my life."

By Bruce Deachman The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

400 Auto Wreckers, changing perceptions of auto recycling

At 62, Tom Huehn shows no signs of slowing down. Over the phone his voice is enthusiastic and his sentences punctuated with laughter. Huehn’s warm personality and infectious love of all things automotive are obvious the moment he starts talking. This, at least partially, may be the reason he has so successfully changed his local government’s perception of auto recycling. Together with his business partner, Bob Bridges, Huehn has integrated 400 Auto Wreckers in Holland Landing, ON into the local community.

Huehn has been in the automotive recycling business since 1984 and says the industry is currently in the best shape he’s seen it. ““We’ve changed so much with the accreditation and with the environmental audits, with the National Code of Practice, with the ongoing education,” he says.

Huehn is quick to give credit where it’s due, particularly to the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA). “I think that one of the most positive things for my business and our industry is our association with OARA. OARA provides us with so much education and so many benefits; OARA is really the thing that is going to save our industry,” Huehn states boldly.

For evidence of the auto recycling industry’s newfound credibility and environment awareness, Huehn points to the Ontario Tire Stewardship's Tire Take Back Days events. “When we did the tire program, I had five town councillors come to our business and want to get their picture taken and get involved. It wasn’t that they wanted their picture taken for a photo op. They were here getting their photo taken and saying, ‘we support what these guys are doing.’ Ten years ago they wouldn’t come near us.”

Huehn points out that changing negative perceptions doesn’t happen overnight. “It just happens slowly, and again I give OARA credit for that, they’ve given us so much credibility. The literature, the DVDs, the charity programs, all these things make people look at us differently than perhaps they have for the last decade.” He says that in the last three years especially, he has notice a marked shift in public and government perception of the auto recycling industry.

Within East Gwillimbury, the township in which Holland Landing is a part, Huehn has been instrumental in changing negative perceptions of the industry. “You just have to approach them and invite them to your facility and show them what you’re doing and show them what you’re not doing,” he advises. “I was a speaker at the chamber of commerce and I didn’t focus on my particular business, I focused on my industry. I showed the OARA DVD and the response from those hundred people that were at that meeting was consistently, ‘I didn’t know. I wasn’t aware. Boy have things changed.’ They saw it in a whole different light once they got some education.”

However, it is not only the public has changed its mindset, Huehn says auto recyclers have shown an ability to change for the better. He points to the 66 recycling facilities that passed the mandatory environmental audits in order to participate in the Tire Take Back event. “Everybody had to work to upgrade themselves to pass and everybody did it. If you wanted in that program, you had to do some work, you had to make some changes, and you had to see things differently.”

Huehn says he doesn’t spend much money on advertising and the reason he’s been successful in getting the cooperation and support of the local government is his willingness to get out into the community. Because of this, he says, the town gave the program its full support. "We were able to put a huge tire sign on public land because they said, ‘what you’re doing is good.’ It went to council and council said this is a good thing and directed the people that run the town to get on board and do whatever they could to help.”

Looking forward, Huehn hopes that the auto recycling industry will build its credibility by issuing auto-recycling licences through the provincial government. In the meantime, he says auto recyclers should “just go out there and talk to [people]. Invite them to your business and work at changing people’s perceptions.”

By Michael Raine,

Friday, May 13, 2011

UK End of Life Vehicles Blog Post from Salvage Wire

Utter the words End of Life Vehicle (ELV), and many will immediately picture a scrap yard full of old cars leaking oil and water, been involved in a heavy impact, or are simply a gutted shell. But this is only part of the story.

The End of Life Vehicle Directive – 2000/53/EC (to give it’s full title) is a Europe-wide directive that was to be enforced in all member states by 21 April 2002. However, some countries failed to implement the legislation by the deadline and many took advantage of flexibility within the directive so that the ‘last owner’ of the vehicle would be responsible for disposal of an ELV until the end of 2006. From 1st January 2007 this responsibility passed to the vehicle manufacturers bringing all member states in line.

The directive includes various targets involving: environmental practices in the motor salvage industry, the prohibition of the use of various heavy metals in vehicles and the removal of various hazardous fluids and components in a safe manner. Additionally the directive seeks to promote and encourage the development of markets for recycled parts.

The target causing most discussion is that 95% of a car (by weight) must be reused, recycled or recovered by 2015.

These, and other regulations in the directive, close the loop, from design and build, through sale, service and use, to disposal and recycling. The vehicle manufacturer is now responsible for the whole life of the vehicle, not just design and sales.

So what has changed in vehicle design and build? Plenty. The directive dictates that the use of Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Hexavalent Chromium is now prohibited except in certain applications (i.e. batteries) according to a list that will be regularly reviewed. This ensures that these materials do not become shredder residues and are not incinerated or disposed of in landfills.
The European Union recently reported that this section alone has reduced the use of hazardous substances in vehicle production by 90%.

Manufacturers have also had to provide the industry with all requisite dismantling information with particular emphasis on hazardous materials and have to use component and material coding standards established by the European Commission to identify each individual part for recycling purposes.

In the next 5-10 years designers will have to adapt to many issues including:
 Greater environmental awareness resulting in lower vehicle weights and the use of alternative construction materials

New Legislation and industry standards, such as:
 Pedestrian impact
 Reduction of emissions in production and use of the vehicle
 Further increased environmental awareness
 Lower production costs
 Shorter lead times from design to manufacture

Looking closer at the first issue, vehicle weight is a major contributor to emissions, but it’s not all environmental, lighter cars have enhanced dynamics – handling, braking etc. The quest is on for designers to find components that meet all their requirements: are lighter and stronger, relatively inexpensive, environmentally attractive to produce and also recyclable in 2015.

It’s a tough challenge. For example, polymeric glazing (plastic glass) will be in use by a volume manufacturer within the next five years. Yes, it will be lighter than glass, however the plastics recycling market is currently not as advanced as the market for glass, so this has the potential to negatively impact the drive towards the 95% target.

Many manufacturers are already designing plastic components to be built using recycled materials and in many areas this is being achieved. Moreover, developments in shredder technology are starting to separate more of the various vehicle parts, resulting in less shredder residue going to landfill or incineration. Ultimately though the success of these developments rests upon the creation of a suitable marketplace willing to purchase the materials produced.

Outsourced parts are also a concern, as the manufacturer is ultimately responsible for the recyclability of all the components in their vehicles. Therefore they must ensure that all parts are recyclable within the terms of the ELV directive, i.e. do not contain any banned materials, are coded correctly and are also fit for the purpose for which they were designed.

The use of recycled material brings additional issues, including the availability and consistency of the material. It also requires the education of designers who may have little or no experience of working with recycled materials.

Concern remains over a number of areas both within and outside the ELV directive. For example, work must be done to develop effective recycled marketplaces. This has already started in the form of ongoing research, supported by the European Commission and many member states to investigate and develop recycled marketplaces and recycling processes in order to reach the 95% target.

The Commission also reported on the ELV process, specifically completing an impact assessment on the targets contained within the directive. It has concluded that there is no need to change these targets, despite fears that the current target of 95% by 2015 is unattainable.

The report highlights that any reduction in the targets will end the development of technology to treat the waste and that confirmation of the 2015 target will assist in removing current blockages to innovation. The assessment goes on to support the ELV Directive because it has triggered technological development in ELV treatment and stresses that continued development of treatment technologies will bring substantial environmental benefits.

You can find more details at

As the worldwide vehicle market expands over the coming years environmental concerns are only going to increase, leading many areas of the world to follow the example set by the European Commission.

The work already completed in Europe has made this region a world leader in motor vehicle environmental and recycling activities, creating business opportunities by setting high, but in my opinion, achievable standards.

Salvage Wire Blog