The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has welcomed the decision to allow material from car recycling to be recovered as energy to avoid sending it to landfill.
The Environment Agency and Defra has confirmed that material left over from recycling end of life vehicles (ELV), known as auto shredder residue (ASR), can be recovered via thermal processing rather than sent to landfill, which has previously been the only option.
Most of the 800,000 tonnes of such material that goes to landfill every year could be used to produce high quality plastics and generate electricity, and help the UK meet European recycling targets, according to the BMRA.
The BMRA said that the decision gave the sector the green light for the significant investment needed ahead of EU recovery targets for ELV which are set to increase to 95% in 2015.
BMRA director general Ian Hetherington said: “For more than two years, BMRA and key players in the industry have been calling for government to be decisive in providing a policy framework in which the UK metals recycling industry can take a lead in the advanced recovery of end-of-life consumer goods in Europe.
“Now with the right policy framework in place, the metals recycling industry will endeavour to retain a lead in developing materials recycling and recovery, whilst creating green jobs and growth in the sector.”
According to the BMRA, UK metals recyclers can currently recover and recycle over 85% of ELV including metals, plastics, rubber and glass. A small amount, the ASR, cannot be recycled, but will now be able to be recovered to help meet targets.