Government Can Learn “Valuable Lessons” From ELV Processing Sector

End of life vehiclesFollowing the UK car manufacturing and recycling industry meeting the 85 percent target to reuse, recycle or recover end of life vehicles (ELV) in 2012, the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) says that the government can learn valuable lessons from the ELV processing sector. 

The UK car manufacturing and recycling industry met its statutory 2012 EU target to reuse, recycle or recover 85 percent of the weight of end of life vehicles (ELV), according to documents submitted to the European Commission by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The total reuse and recovery rate of 88.1 percent was achieved for the year 2012, up from 82.3 percent in 2006.

A total of 1,163,123 vehicles were scrapped in the UK in 2012, with a total of 1,129,392 tonnes of material having been recovered for either reuse, recycling or energy recovery.

Meeting this target is a legal obligation under the European ELV Directive, and requires vehicle manufacturers to offer free take-back of ELVs to consumers through a network of licenses scrap yards.

The target for 2015 is set to increase to 95 percent, a target that marks a “significant challenge” according to BIS.

Ian Hetherington, BMRA – “The government can learn valuable lessons from the ELV processing sector as it prepares to respond to the European Commission’s proposed changes to the Waste Framework Directive and its daughter directives”

Ian Hetherington, BMRA’s director general, commented: “While the wider recycling industry is concerned with the increasing packaging waste recovery andrecycling targets, ELV recyclers have simply got on with dealing with an extremely complex waste stream to not only achieve, but exceed, the 85 percent target.

“The sector should be applauded as this has been accomplished without an overly complicated and expensive producer responsibility scheme or substantial support from producers.

“However, the industry is already focused on reaching the higher target of 95 percent from 1 January 2015 by the recovery of plastics and generation of energy from the unrecyclable residue.

“The government can learn valuable lessons from the ELV processing sector as it prepares to respond to the European Commission’s proposed changes to the Waste Framework Directive and its daughter directives. Most importantly, positive value should not be regulated out of any waste stream unnecessarily.

“The industry should be supported with consistent arrangements so it can invest in its own infrastructure without requiring public guarantees or subsidies. Landfill tax should continue to be used as the main stimulant rather than landfill bans for certain materials which could lead to an increase in waste crime such as fly-tipping and illegal sites. In addition, incentives should be introduced such as VAT relief for companies using recovered and recycled materials.

“The entire lifecycle of materials should also be considered when developing policy in this area. For example, whilst reducing CO2 emissions by light weighting vehicles may sound like a good idea, replacing metal with carbon fibre or composites will dramatically affect how much the vehicle can be reused, recycled or recovered at the end of its life. Lighter weight vehicles will save energy and carbon emissions over their lifetimes but these positive environmental impacts may be negated when they are processed as ELVs.”


 

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