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2007seems to be a year where our sector will be at a cross-road in 2007, and with only four months to go before we reach it, it does not at all seem clear which road we should take.

2007 will be an exiting year, because:

  • In 2007 we will get the first reports concerning re-use and recycling quota in 2006
  • In 2007 we will get the first indications on possibilities of going further that 85%
  • In 2007 we will have the first year with full producers responsibility, meaning that, in principle, the car producers either have to arrange free-take-back of all ELVs and/or pay all or a substantial part of the costs of take-back.

Together, these three elements will be quite decisive concerning our future, especially concerning which way we should go.

  • Will we be in a situation where car producers decide where ELVs should go, or will there still be possibilities for us to be in the market?
  • Can targets be achieved by just taking the shredder-route? A route it looks as if the car producers wish to take, looking at their initiatives in many countries
  • Are there other roads to take?

 

During 2005 the European Commission had a Stakeholder Working Group looking at this, especially concerning “which road to take” in order to achieve the recycling targets, a group in which EGARA of course participated.

This 2015 Target Review Group clearly concluded that it could be realistic to achieve 85% in some countries, unrealistic in others, mainly due to lack of appropriate infrastructure. It equally clearly concluded that achieving 95% in 2015 would be extremely difficult in all countries – unless investments in existing and in new infrastructures and technologies were made – and investments seem to be necessary independently ot which road one would take.

On the “Shredder-road”, great hopes have been expressed concerning Post Shredder Technologies, but the working group concluded that:

  • existing PST-technologies are insufficient concerning the volumes that needs to be treated
  • they are – still – relatively expensive to use
  • they are not readily available where and when necessary
  • they still have their limitations.

So: Investments are needed!

So what about recycling technologies? Although technically almost everything can be recycled – at a certain cost, however – it is obvious:

  • that the demand for recycled products is insufficient compared to available volumes and current prices
  • that new application areas for recycled products must be found
  • use of recycled products must be – financially or legally – stimulated.

So: Investments are needed!

And when looking at what is taking place in our sector: The necessary dismantling and sorting of materials pre shredder and recycling operations – a process which currently is necessary in order to achieve high recycling percentages and what we currently perform, we also have to improve our efficiency,

So: Investments are needed!

Unfortunately, in all areas the investment climate is not positive! Willing investors are difficult to find, simply because: Nobody knows which road will be taken at the cross-road.

With producer responsibility in force from 2007, it was believed – by at least some politicians – that, car producers would play a main role in choosing the road, i.e. by directing the investments and actually invest in “the right road”. However, this do not seem to be the case. Car producers are – for good reasons – looking into other areas to invest in, if they at all can invest? – so it is not likely that they will direct the road!

Who then? A good question! We, the Automotive Recyclers are willing to take our share of the responsibilities –and the costs – but we do not wish to be the only ones upon which the burden falls.

After all we are speaking about the right environmental road and as we see it: We all have to decide on this – together: Authorities and all economic operators – with fair shares of responsibilities and costs.

In this process perhaps some guidance from authorities/politicians is necessary – not to speak about investments on their behalf!

Lennart Scharff

EGARA-secretary