From 1 January 2015, the UK must recover 95% of an end-of-life vehicle (ELV) under the EU’s ELV Directive – 85% must be recycled or reused and the additional 10% can be achieved using energy recovery from the combustion of non-recyclable residues. Metal recyclers and vehicle dismantlers are reaching the current recycling/reuse target of 85% which includes the separation and recycling of metals, plastics, rubber and glass. However, in order to achieve the higher target, a lot of work still needs to be done.
Automotive shredder residue (ASR)
In 2012, Defra and the EA confirmed the basis on which the use of residual materials from the shredding of ELVs (ASR) in dedicated energy-from-waste plants would be considered to be a recovery process. Roughly 600,000 tonnes of this material is landfilled as it is difficult to process in existing EfW facilities.
This is because chlorine (which is present in PVC plastics) corrodes equipment and is damaging to the environment. However, it can be used in dedicated thermal processes designed specifically to generate energy from ASR or used in small quantities as a replacement fuel in cement kilns.
Previously, investors held off from financing specially built facilities to recover energy from ASR as the energy generated did not contribute to ELV targets.
The 2012 announcement provided the necessary regulatory framework for the metals recycling industry to develop infrastructure for generating energy from ASR and help meet the increasing targets.
Reaching the 95% recovery and recycling target
The sector has moved rapidly to make the significant investment needed to achieve the EU’s 95% reuse, recovery and recycling target by 2015. However, it is vital to assess whether the industry, as a whole, has the capacity to achieve the target.
On Friday 6 June, I will be chairing a session at the Complete Auto Recycling and Secondary Materials (CARS) trade show on what ELV processors can do to meet the higher target on time and the consequences of not reaching it.
Hopefully the increasing requirements will drive the UK’s sector to take the lead in the advanced recycling and recovery of end-of-life consumer goods in Europe as well as creating green jobs and economic growth.
The industry has continued to invest in innovative materials recycling and recovery processes with absolutely no public financial support and against a background of public policy dithering and uncertainty.
ELV treatment standard
The possible development of European standards for the treatment of ELVs is also on the horizon as Europe 2020 includes a standardisation strategy to help bring about a resource efficient continent.
At the moment, there is no official position on an ELV treatment standard but the BMRA will liaise with vehicle manufacturers to explore whether there would be a mutual interest in developing an industry standard or, at the very least, a common position ahead of any such proposals.
Our objective is to ensure that any future standard is appropriate and does not pose unnecessary administrative or economic burdens on the treatment community but is risk-based and fit-for-purpose.
ELVs and the Scrap Metal Dealers’ Act 2013
I will also be taking part in a session at CARS at Motorhog in Doncaster on 5-6 June. The session will look at the wording of the Act (including the definition of scrap metal and whether it covers salvaged component parts from ELVs, the identification requirements and the cashless model) together with the new licensing regime enforcement.
Hopefully it will clear up the many uncertainties surrounding the meaning of the new legislation and its implementation.