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Friday, April 08, 2011

Recycle your old car the right way

New rules to keep the environment a top priority when recycling end-of-life vehicles.

The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association is doing more than paying lip service to their commitment to recycle end-of-life vehicles properly. As of January 2011, they adopted the National Code of Practice for Auto Recyclers as a condition of membership for all of its Direct Members - both existing and new.

Steve Fletcher, the association’s Executive Director explained the evolution of the new policy. “This code was developed by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) for Environment Canada to support the National “Retire Your Ride” scrappage program. It includes some stringent compliance requirements for a recycling operation to properly and legally process a vehicle in Ontario. For the past few years, our association has been working toward a standardized certification process that objectively measures both the facilities and the processes used by our members. We wanted to have the confidence to stand up and publicly state that all of our members do things the right way. Now we have that.”

OARA and ARC retained an independent auditor to physically visit each member and evaluate their business against the standardized protocol. Any potential shortcomings were rectified and confirmed by the auditor before a recycler was certified.

So, as a vehicle owner, why should you care whether a recycler is certified? Fletcher explains. “Unfortunately, not everybody processes end-of-life vehicles the way OARA members do. There are some scrap operators out there who buy cars just to crush them and sell them for the value of the metal. They leave toxic fluids and heavy metals to just escape into the soil and groundwater. Ozone depleting substances are released into the atmosphere. They don’t recycle any usable parts and don’t care about the damage they’re doing to the environment. It can be a real nightmare. It’s almost impossible for the average vehicle owner to figure out who the responsible recyclers are and who they should avoid selling their cars to. When they see the Certified Ontario Auto Recycler seal, they know that operator has been thoroughly checked out. They know they’re dealing with one of the good guys.”

Every vehicle that a Certified OARA 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.

OARA is working with progressive manufacturers and the government to ensure all vehicles in the province are handled according to the National Code of Practice. In the meantime, when you’re done with your vehicle be aware of who you’re selling it to. It can make all the difference in the world.

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