Germany – Metals recycler The Scholz Group has held a series of meetings in Berlin and Brussels with interested parties, including European Parliament representatives, to discuss apparent flaws in the EU end-of-life vehicle (ELV) Directive introduced in 2000.
EU member states are only able to fulfill their recovery quotas thanks to multi-million investments in shredder and post-shredder technologies in the last years, according to group ceo Oliver Scholz. But this investment is threatened by failure to enforce the regulations, which sees vehicles being disposed of in illegal facilities.
‘Our main intention is to stop the illegal export of end-of-life vehicles,’ Scholz commented. Participants in the meetings agreed that the Certificate of Deregistration (COD) is the best system available to EU recovery operations. But vehicles’ last owners are not yet following this procedure as standard, and enforcement authorities are not demanding it.
Scholz quoted one estimate that six to eight million German ELVs simply vanish each year into illegal facilities at unknown locations. The number of vehicles currently being recovered as a proportion of those deregistered was described as ‘very low’ in many member states. Ways must be found to strengthen the system, the meetings agreed.
While rates were important, there must be greater focus on the overall quality of recycling. Michael Thews, waste policy spokesman of the Social Democrats in Berlin, said: ‘The COD is the key for better enforcement.’ One proposal was that the last owner should be forced to continue paying road tax until a COD is issued.
‘It is a disaster that old vehicles disappear from the market,’ noted MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz. ‘If the Directive is not implemented correctly, the European Commission has to act. The automotive industry has to take producer responsibility seriously,’ he added.
The need for possible clarification of the regulation was discussed, or the addition of new implementation guidelines. ‘A law that is not clear in itself is not a good law,’ said Commission representative Prof. Helmut Maurer.
He suggested there should be ‘alternative instruments’ to improve take-up, such as a deposit on new cars to ensure better traceability until they reach end-of-life.