JAMA’s Vision for ELV Recycling in Europe
The sixth International Automobile Recycling Congress was held on March 15-17, 2006 in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). This congress, under the official co-patronage of JAMA, ACEA and Plastics Europe, aimed at providing an international platform for participants to discuss their views and share their experience on issues related to end-of-life vehicle management.
The second session on the first day focussed on the topic ‘How do car manufacturers close the recycling loop?’. During that session, a representative of JAMA Europe outlined ‘JAMA’s vision for ELV recycling in Europe’. The key points of that message are presented below.
Developing more environmentally-friendly vehicles
For many years, Japanese motor vehicle manufacturers have worked hard to meet the sustainability challenges facing the auto sector. They are engaged in ongoing efforts to develop more environmentally-friendly vehicles and a more viable infrastructure for themone in which provisions for vehicle recycling constitutes an essential part. This commitment by Japanese auto manufacturers is well illustrated by the basic guidelines they have adopted for the conduct of their activities:
1. Manufacturers will make comprehensive assessments of the environmental impact of the vehicles they produce, beginning at the vehicle development stage, in their effort to provide automobiles that are more environmentally friendly. In the manufacturing process, too, they will strive to develop cleaner production technologies.
2. Manufacturers will seek to establish a recycling-based infrastructure for automobiles to help promote environmental protection.
3. On a global scale and through international cooperation, manufacturers will strive for increased environmental protection through the application of appropriate technologies and their own expertise.
4. Manufacturers will, in addition, promote internal organizational systems that allow for appropriate and timely action in response to all environmental issues related to motor vehicles.
Increasingly, ‘life-cycle analysis’ (LCA) is used today to carry out a quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle. In applying the LCA method, manufacturers can address not only the environmental impact of a product but also important criteria in the areas of safety, reliability, convenience and comfort.
The adoption of LCA is fully supported by JAMA, which contributed to the work of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) in the development of an international standard for LCA. However, JAMA also supports further research on the implementation of LCA in the automotive sector, since a fully comprehensive application can be problematic owing to the characteristics of automobiles themselves (composed of twenty to thirty thousand parts), their use patterns, and their end-of-life treatment.
A wide range of supporting industries must also be involved
Automotive production and use encompasses a wide range of supporting industries, including auto parts manufacturing, material procurement, sales and maintenance, freight (goods distribution) and passenger transport.
To reduce the impact of automobiles on the environment, the efforts of automobile manufacturers alone are not sufficient. A holistic and integrated approach is necessary, involving the public sector, related industries and vehicle users themselves.
End-of-life vehicle management
Propelled by the European End-of-Life Vehicle Directive (2000/53/EC) published in October 2000 and the Japanese equivalent in July 2002, JAMA has taken an active part in the development of a recycling infrastructure and related methodologies in various parts of the world. In Europe, JAMA member manufacturers are participating in the International Dismantling Information System (IDIS) consortium and the International Material Data System (IMDS) consortium, as well as in the various working groups appointed from the European Commission and the industry.
JAMA member manufacturers have implemented measures to meet requirements directly related to the design of vehicles, such as the elimination of hazardous substances and the greater recyclability of certain parts and components. However, because requirements and procedures related to ELV recovery in the EU Member States are so extensive, and taking into account the producer responsibility principle which is being applied, the additional related costs for vehicle manufacturers remain problematic.
Meeting the recycling and recovery targets as established by the European Union’s ELV Directive is an issue for EU Member State authorities; they will have to rely on data gathered via the various economic operators concerned on the basis of the procedures of individual Member States. JAMA member manufacturers are studying and implementing measures to lend support to the relevant economic operators and to the authorities in meeting the targets established by the ELV Directive. Being able to comply with the 2015 targets will largely depend on the available network of treatment facilities in Europe.
Now and in the years ahead, JAMA and its member manufacturers intend to take part on an even larger scale in research and development activities focussing on the expanded application of environmental protection measures throughout the life cycle of automobiles, including the implementation of a viable vehicle recycling infrastructure.