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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

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Auto recyclers from around the world gather in Québec City for the IRT

It started as a simple forum--an exchange of ideas and discussion of what the auto recycling industry could do to improve the business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I hope the CO2 reduction rate of recycled parts gets spearheaded by the IRT network as an international standard for all recyclers in the world as green parts for a greener world,” Goko said.

In Malaysia, the import of used automotive parts and components will be prohibited starting June 2011, which will put Malaysian automotive recyclers in serious trouble.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canadian Auto Recycler Magazine

Monday, May 09, 2011

Auto Recyclers’ Code of Practice leads to Positive Change

At a time when most industries are rising up against government sticking their bureaucratic noses in their business, why on earth would the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) be pushing for more regulation in their industry? In short, because it is necessary to protect the environment from unscrupulous scrap operators, and to preserve the economic viability of a responsible recycling industry.

Leading the way
The association is leading the way in controlling what it can. In 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. This stringent code was developed by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) to support the National “Retire Your Ride” program. It includes minimum compliance requirements to properly and legally process a vehicle in Ontario, along with best practices and guidance on some housekeeping items. OARA retained an independent auditor to physically visit each member and evaluate their business against the standardized protocol. A minimum score of 70% was required to pass the audit.

Methodical process preserves the environment
Every vehicle that an OARA member handles goes through a methodical process to maximize reclamation and minimize environmental impact. 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.

Unfortunately for the industry and for the environment, not everybody processes end-of-life vehicles (ELV’s) the way OARA members do. It’s almost unfathomable, but there are some scrap operators who buy cars just to crush them and sell them for the value of the metal, allowing toxic fluids and heavy metals to escape into the soil and groundwater. They don’t recycle any usable parts and pay no regard to the damage they’re doing to the environment.

An industry threatened
Reputable auto recyclers are at a disadvantage on two fronts when it comes to purchasing vehicles. Both are a threat to the sustainability and economic viability of the entire industry. Without the cost of facilities, equipment, training and labour involved in handling vehicles responsibly, unscrupulous scrap operators can simply afford to pay more for a vehicle. Secondly, there is increased competition for good quality accidented vehicles at auction. With no restrictions on who can purchase a write-off, more vehicles are being shipped offshore where they can be repaired and re-sold without being “branded” as a total loss vehicle. That is driving up prices and threatening the supply of good quality recycled parts.

A level playing field
OARA is pushing for legislation that will ensure all vehicles be handled according to the National Code of Practice. If the standard to which they hold their members was a legislated requirement for all, it would level the playing field and put an end to the environmental nightmares.

They are encouraging both insurers and collision repairers to be aware of the situation they’re in and lend their support. The supply of good quality, recycled parts from reputable auto recyclers plays an integral part in keeping repair costs in line and reducing the number of write-offs. And from that we all benefit.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

What We Know After A Year Of ARC's Environmental Accreditation Program

January 1, 2011 -- In 2009, the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) won a contract to complete 350 environmental reviews at the automotive recyclers involved in the federal Retire Your Ride program. An environmental review in this case is defined as a two to three hour visit from a trained professional to review the recycler’s management of hazardous materials within the context of provincial and federal legislation.

The automotive recyclers who participated in this review stretched from St John’s, Newfoundland to Prince Rupert, British Columbia and in just about every community between.

Colin McKean, the manager of the Automotive Recyclers Environmental Association (AREA) in British Columbia, was contracted by ARC to train and coordinate three other professionals to share the load of the inspections. Patrick McMahon from New Brunswick, Alain Joyal from Quebec and Greg Thomas from Ontario were hired with Colin to ensure the ARC Environmental Code of Practice was delivered consistently and professionally from coast to coast.

The inspectors have many years of experience and they understand that their job is to provide “on-site” education and guidance on how to improve the environmental performance of recyclers. The inspectors focused on making the program informative and beneficial. The reviews were an enormous challenge and one of the biggest projects ever undertaken by ARC, but with the possibility of a growing number of vehicle recovery programs (e.g. the Recycle Your Ride, Cash For Clunkers, and Car Heaven retirement programs, and the Tacoma and Windstar buyback programs), the establishment of a national network of environmentally certified recyclers will have important benefits to the sector in the future.

“The national certification program for automotive recyclers will exceed 350 yards by the end of [2010] with overwhelming support from the industry,” said ARC managing director Steve Fletcher.

Because the inspectors quantify each inspection, they were able to glean some important statistics.

The average score for recyclers in the first year of the program was 79.4 per cent (with a standard deviation of 11.2 per cent). Graph 1.1 shows that the results followed a pretty normal distribution.

Note that recyclers who did not score more than 60 per cent on the assessment were temporarily suspended from the program until they improved their environmental performance.

Congratulations are in order for Mary Poirier of Valley Automotive for obtaining the highest overall score in Canada.

One of the issues ARC had to confront was ensuring that the results were consistent from one inspector to the next. To do this, the inspectors met a few of times over the summer, visited the same recycler and conducted inspections independently. Then the different inspectors shared the results and the reason for their scores. For the most part, all of the inspectors judged the recyclers similarly and the inspection scores were within a couple of percentage points of each other.

Where possible, recyclers who scored less than 70 per cent were subject to a re-inspection. So far, the recyclers that have been re-inspected have obtained significantly higher results the second time through the process.

“Most recyclers are simply not aware of the requirements to remove, store and transport hazardous materials,” McKean said. “Once you can explain the requirements in plain language, the recycler will make the necessary adjustments.”

Some recyclers were very nervous at having some one come on site to inspect their practices. But with the exception of a few people, everyone was pleased with the approach and the results.

ARC has big plans for its network of certified automotive recyclers. Steve Fletcher feels that vehicle manufacturers will be impressed with ARC’s approach and, in time, the network will form the basis of a more formalized stewardship program for end-of-life vehicles.

“Environment Canada has provided a critical start to creating a national network of accredited automotive recyclers from coast to coast,” Fletcher said. “It is now up to the automotive recyclers to build on this legacy.”

Canadian Auto Recycler Magazine 2011