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Feature: On target for take back

Christmas is rapidly approaching and before we know it we will be seeing the old year out and welcoming in 2006. But as January 1 dawns will vehicle manufacturers be wishing that 2005 had gone on just a little longer?

According to the End of Life Vehicles Directive vehicle manufacturers were meant to have detailed contracting arrangements for the recycling of their ELVs by July 1 this year so that sufficient capacity would be in place to deal with all ELVs by January 1 2006.

The main requirements of the ELV Directive are for member states to ensure that producers limit the use of hazardous substances and increase the quality of recycled material used in the manufacture of their vehicles and that producers design vehicles for easy recycling.

As of 2007 producers will pay all or a significant part of the costs of free take-back of no or negative value vehicles to a treatment facility and, under the directive, there is a reuse and recovery target of 85% for all ELVs by January 1. Within this, is a target of 80% for reuse and recycling, increasing to 95% and 85% respectively in 2015.

In response to this, some of the biggest names in car manufacturing have wasted no time in making their arrangements for next year and establishing a nationwide take back network.

Vehicles recycler Autogreen has secured the business of, among others, Porsche Cars Great Britain, DaimlerChysler and all BMW Group vehicles.

When a vehicle arrives at an Autogreen site, it will go to a depollution station where all fluids will be drained and batteries, tyres and wheels removed. The remaining vehicle is crushed before being sent to a shredding facility where the remains are sorted for recycling. A certificate of destruction is issued after every disposal to ensure that DVLA records are kept up to date.

Steve Nash, director of after sales for BMW said: “Since the early 1990s the BMW Group has been involved in the recycling of cars. In fact, the BMW Group was the first car manufacturer in the world to create a vehicle recycling network.
“In the UK we view our vehicle recycling network as a third and equally important network within our business after the vehicle sales and repair networks.”

However, it is not just the point of disposal that car manufacturers are planning for. The inclusion of recycled material in design is on the increase, as is the argument for the use of standardised materials to ease recycling when the car has reached the end of its life.

At DaimlerChysler, some models already include rubberised coconut husk seat padding, organic external underfloor cladding and recycled noise insulation materials and floormats.


The End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive passed into European Law in October 2000 and was due to be transposed into national law in all member states by April 21 2002. This was delayed but vehicle manufacturers were due to provide producer plans detailing contracting arrangements for recycling their ELVs by July 1 2005 in order for sufficient capacity to be in place to deal with all ELVs by January 1 2006.

According to Defra, vehicle data shows that currently around 2 million vehicles are scrapped in the UK every year. Around 1.2 million of these go to vehicle dismantlers in the first instance with 0.6 million going directly to scrap yards.


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