Friday, 10 April 2015 00:00

ARA Attends 15th International Automobile Recycling Congress in Berlin Germany

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On March 25-27, the 15th International Automobile Recycling Congress (IARC) was held in Berlin, Germany, and the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) interests were represented by ARA CEO Michael Wilson and ARA Past President Ed MacDonald.

Because ARA represents over 4500 professional automotive recyclers through direct and affiliated chapters in the US and 15 countries internationally, “an ARA presence at international automotive recycling events is important,” Wilson states. “The IARC is an opportunity to hear directly from our international members and grow ARA’s voice internationally. While ARA members’ business facilities differ from facility to facility, there is significant commonality in the global issues facing the professional automotive recycling industry. Additionally, the automotive industry worldwide is becoming more and more integrated. Specific automotive recycling activity is no different, with a number of entities within the industry expanding internationally."

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Conference sessions at the IARC focused in detail on the 95 percent recycling target rate set under the European Union End-of-Life Directive for 2015. The subject was widely discussed both in and out of the educational seminars.

Wilson notes, “Given the January 1, 2015 deadline for countries to achieve a 95 percent recycling rate established by the European Union's End-of-Life Directive, it was expected that this would be a topic of much discussion.  Many of the countries have met these targets but there are several that have to yet to do so. Revised guidelines and improved scrutiny are to be put in place so that all EU members meet the required targets. These events also allow us to see into the future of recycling for North America where more and more stringent regulations are expected on the reuse of the final elements within the automobile, including carbon fiber, nickel, plastics etc. These meetings give us a window of opportunity and knowledge in developing processes for the extraction of these products from the automobile. At the same time we continue to promote our North American recycling model that is the reutilization of the component parts of the automobile, total reuse. A higher sale and reutilization of recycled OEM automotive parts as in North America by Europe and Asia and more ‘urban mining’ of the component parts by the North American recycling process would certainly be a target to strive for in the future.”

For over 250 automotive recycling professionals in attendance, IARC 2015 offered educational sessions on a variety of topics, including how manufacturers and the recycling industry close the recycling loop; best available recycling technologies; auto manufacturer feedback from Asia, the USA and Europe; next-generation recycling processes and equipment; and recycling challenges presented by new automotive materials, such as nickel metal hydride, lithium-ion batteries, carbon fiber, glass, lamps and catalysts.

While participating in a panel discussion with speakers from Mexico and India, MacDonald shared an overview of the North American automotive recycling model, detailing the Automotive Recyclers of Canada’s activities. Special focused was placed on their “Take Back the Tundra” pilot end-of-life vehicle processing program in the Canadian arctic.

MacDonald said his presentation “emphasized the differentiation between the European/Asian automotive recycling process, generally defined as ‘urban mining,’ which stresses and relies on a far deeper extraction process of the vehicles elemental properties such as copper, aluminum, steel rare elements, magnets, etc. than in North America which utilizes a very robust, active and profitable parts resale industry through our professional recyclers."

The presentation was well-received and many follow-up questions were asked during the remainder of the conference.

The event’s keynote speaker was Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, who addressed the automotive industry’s role in the context of end-of-life vehicle recycling. Wilson recounts, “During his presentation, Jonnaert alluded to the need to focus on the planet, profits and people as well as the importance of keeping environmental goals in proper prospective.  Jonnaert remarked that recycling targets should be balanced versus targets set to reduce the bigger environmental footprint of vehicles during use.  He stated that there was not a need for new legislation in Europe regarding end-of-life vehicles and thought further cooperation between stakeholders would produce more beneficial outcomes.”

Following Jonnaert’s presentation, Wilson referenced ARA’s call for OEM parts data that was the topic of an ARA presentation at the 2014 IARC, and asked about ACEA’s commitment to providing this information which is required under European regulations.

Although Jonnaert’s response was vague, Wilson followed up with the Secretary General of ACEA to engage in further dialogue on this imperative matter.

In reference to this initiative, Wilson states, “ARA is calling on the automakers to adhere to European Commission regulations that require manufacturers to provide independent operators ‘information on all parts of the vehicle, with which the vehicle, as identified by the vehicle identification number (VIN) and any additional criteria such as wheelbase, engine output, trim level or options, is equipped by the vehicle manufacturer.’ This data must be made available in a database easily accessible to independent operators and should include the VIN, Original Equipment (OE) parts numbers, OE naming of the parts, validity attributes (valid-from and valid-to dates), fitting and where applicable structuring characteristics. Without access to parts information, the identification of economic and safe alternatives to new OE parts will become increasingly challenging. Different regulations among the European Commission members and the United States do not support the efficient and safe global marketplace of recycled OEM automotive parts. The automakers in the United States must embrace European requirements regarding access to automotive parts information that is critical to enhance the safety of the global vehicle owner, the sustainability of the worldwide environment and ensuring fair and efficient competition in the automotive parts replacement marketplace.”

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