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New EU rules to specify recovered ELV components

Jaco Huisman (middle).

A prescriptive list of components that have to be recovered from end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) – and those that cannot be reused – is expected to be part of the European Commission’s proposed new ELV regulation due to be published in July.

An annexe setting out storage and handling, depollution and reporting will also cover the removal of components for recycling, reuse or remanufacturing, delegates at the recent International Automobile Recycling Congress in Geneva were told.

Jaco Huisman, policy officer for ELVs at the commission and the author of a report on critical raw materials (CRMs), talked about the new regulation setting out ‘robust, new legislative framework’ that is ‘future-proof and will give a boost to the circular economy (CE) in the automotive industry’. 

‘You can summarise the proposal in one word and that’s quality,’ he said during a panel discussion on the upcoming ELV legislation. ‘The difficulty is how to be rewarded for getting the quality. [The question is] how can we get the CE working without you being penalised for improved reporting or treatment and [ensure] it is attractive from a business point of view?’ 

Treatment focus

Huisman set out six areas of focus in the regulation for increased quality in recycling, reuse and remanufacturing, and collection:

  • More ‘circular’ design
  • Mandatory use of recycled content 
  • Better treatment
  • Improved governance including EPR 
  • Increased collection capacity
  • Wider scope of vehicles covered

‘We want to see increased quality in design in production to help the end-of-life part,’ he went on. ‘And we want to see increased quality in recycling and collecting to get materials and components back into vehicles and vehicle repairs.’ 

Huisman said the new annexe to the regulation would specify basic obligations for storage and handling, depollution and reporting, and the removal of components for reuse, recycling or remanufacturing.

‘We are very carefully using the word ‘removal’ here. There will be parts that have the potential at least for reuse and there are certain components you do not wish to see going through the shredder. There will be a list of the parts that should not be reused and they should be accounted for.’

Huisman also anticipated specifications for certain ELV fragments to ensure quality of treatment downstream.

Recycled content and collection

The approach to recycled plastic content will comprise a single target percentage phased in over time. Huisman said further feasibility studies were needed ahead of any mandatory targets for steel, aluminium, alloys and certain CRMs. Greater consistency was also being sought across EPR schemes in the member states.

He talked of ‘pretty ambitious measures’ for improving collection by tackling the large numbers of cars lost to the system, often through illegal exports from the EU. Measures ‘in the next couple of years’ would address the whereabouts of vehicles with a valid ‘certificate of roadworthiness’ required for exported cars. This was expected to cut exports by two-thirds in the long term, down from the current three million to one million.

‘It sounds very simple to write but it has to be enforceable,’ Huisman said, adding a desire to embed a ‘certificate of destruction’ process in the routine workflow of customs authorities rather than being dependent on an inspection regime to tackle illegal exports.

The new regulation is also expected to increase the range of ELVs requiring authorised treatment facilities for lorries and motorcycles but without, at this stage, needing the full range and scope required for cars. 

‘With EPR, collection and treatment, it is finding a balance and specifying the objectives we would like to achieve while giving sufficient freedom to innovation and practices across the different manufacturers and recyclers,’ Huisman sought to assure IARC delegates.

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