Global industry get-together on car recycling
JAMA, ACEA and KAMA met in Washington at the International Car Recycling Workshop on 19-21 May 2004. Sponsored by the three associations and supported by the national associations of vehicle manufacturing countries, this was the eight workshop since VDA, the German manufacturers’ association, initiated the idea in 1993. The International Car Recycling Workshop is recognised as an effective forum to coordinate the positions and approaches of the different participants.
The purpose of the May workshop was to bring the global vehicle manufacturers together specifically on the issue of End- of-Life Vehicles (ELV).
It was clear from the event that the various regions drive modified approaches to ELV. For instance, while the Japanese ELV law focuses on specific elements of processing ELVs (such as recycling of fluorinated gases and pyrotechnic devices), the Korean ELVs are governed by 2 laws with similar recyclability and heavy metal requirements. The debate centred on sharing experiences in order to allow industry to speak with one voice, since what happens in one region has a ripple effect in other regions.
The workshop focused attention on three key aspects of the ELV debate:
- The first one, Monitoring of Automobile Recycling, looked at compliance with regulations. The conclusion reached was that the auto recycling market is global and should be treated as such. No outside influence or regulation that imposes local or national constraints on the global markets should be enacted. It was agreed that the bigger picture on the recycling issue should be reviewed on a regular basis. A sector specific focus that interferes with real opportunities for pollution prevention, waste reduction and recycling opportunities. Nor should the process create artificially high prices for recycled material or create the need for subsidies and valorisation. It was agreed that regulators can have an over all positive effect, but they must do so without hindering the market forces.
- A second topic of discussion, Substances of Concern, studied the immediate problem manufacturers have in meeting the material bans imposed by the European ELV Directive. The purpose of the work was to establish common understanding and positions regarding various topics related to heavy metals. Issues covered included Revision of Annex II of the EU Directive, the Labelling of Heavy Metals (HM) parts and coding of Plastic/Rubber parts and the future EU Chemicals Policy (REACH) with particular focus on the lead policy.
- The third working topic was Pyrotechnic devices in automotive applications with a focus on the airbag issue. These discussions were chaired by JAMA. The aim of the debate was to reach an agreement by looking for a worldwide solution and develop a tool that can be used by as many dismantlers as possible. The experts presented their short and long-term solutions region by region. A roadmap illustrated for various regions the planned short term and long term solutions for airbag recycling.
The overall workshop conclusions were that:
- ELV legislation is expected in all major markets and the subject will become more complex with discussions of amendments of the current legislation (likely in the EU).
- Each nation has its own way to prepare ELV legislation, even in the European markets where a unified approach leads to a variety of approaches in national implementation.
- The global scales of ELV legislations are conflicting with each other.
An international task force will be set up to come up with a common position on this issue. It will be made up of representatives of each of the associations - this position will be made public by the end of the year 2004.