Persistent Organic Pollutants. The European Commissions new scope. It’s been mentioned before, but now we begin to see what seems to be involved for our business.
In the Automotive world, POP’s are found in upholstery and PUR foam as flame retarders. Not in all upholstery, not in all PUR foam and not in all brands, types and years, POP’s are found. It’s also not clear yet in what concentrations POP’s are found.
The only way to destroy POP’s is to incinerate them, meaning POP containing materials should be removed and separated. And here’s the problem: Who is going to take care, for what costs and who’s going to pay? If we look back, It’s the producers that bring POP’s in their cars and into the world. But it could also be safety rules, that forces them to do so. After all, vehicles must be safe and protections against fire seems a only a great benefit.
What’s the big deal with POP’s? It’s because of the chlorines and bromides that POP’s are considered environmentally dangerous. For this, POP’s as flame retarders in Automotive upholstery are no longer allowed and used in the production since the end of the nineties and 2000. So POP’s are phasing out anyway and depending from the age of a national car park, it’s expected that from 2015 on, POP’s are no longer present in serious amounts.
If the EC is of opinion that POP’s should be removed from ELV’s to prevent them from ending in shredder waste and materials for reuse, they shouldn’t only hurry, they should also realize that information should be available and even then it’s fairly impossible to distinct in what vehicle POP’s are actually used and present, and in what cars they aren’t. If all shredder residue needs to be incinerated, or even if only the fraction containing possible POP’s, it will be hard to reach the 95% target. Apart from this, It’s not even sure that the concentration of POP’s is high enough to label SR or a fraction as dangerous, thus as necessary to incinerate.
All in all, there’s enough room for discussion about the danger of POP’s and the approach of Automotive POP’s. A lot of research still needs to be done, even concluding the problem is already phasing out by itself.
EGARA’s advise is to keep an eye on any thoughts concerning removal and separation of POP containing materials. We have seen before eager servants making rules with doubtful effects, that took a serious effort of our industry.