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EGARA POSITION PAPER

2003.11.14

 

on

 

Compliance with the ELV Directive (2000/53/EC)

 

Preamble

EGARA, the European Group of Automotive Recycling Associations, comprising vehicle dismantlers in: Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK notes that, according to Article 7.1 of the Directive, it is specifically mentioned that:

“Member States shall take the necessary measures to encourage the

reuse of components which are suitable for reuse …”

In this context, we wish to draw attention to the fact that currently, in a number of Member States, we have noted that the car producers do not comply at all with this.

We see it as a violation of the directive with respect to the following practices:

  1. The mechanisms used in order to fulfil the producer responsibility for ELVs
  2. The service agreements offered to car-owners by certain producers
  3. The extended application of coded electronic components in car.

 

  1. Producer responsibility

In a number of Member States, as well as in EEA-States, car producers are currently negotiating with economic operators in order to find solutions for the reception of ELVs. In a number of countries, there seems to be a clear tendency towards car-producers seeking to ensure that all ELVs go directly to shredding and apparently some National Governments seem to prefer this solution. The underlying assumption brought forward by producers is that this is a much cheaper solution than letting ELVs pass via automotive recyclers/dismantlers, since shredders, which are primarily large-scale, “centralised” operations with application of the coming post-shredder technologies can operate both more cost-effectively and reach the required reuse and recycling targets.

EGARA has serious doubts about the validity of such statements.

Firstly, research into post-shredder technologies clearly shows that:

  • it will still take some years before these technologies are fully operational
  • they are not likely to work in a cost-effective way unless careful pre-sorting takes place
  • it has never been proven that the combination of current shredder-technologies combined with post-shredder technologies can achieve the required recycling rates.

Our feeling is therefore that since Europe has a much higher shredding capacity than there is demand for, there is strong competition for “raw material”, e.g. ELV carcasses, leading to the fees for handling ELVs offered by shredders being unrealistic and the willingness of car producers to prefer paying shredders rather than automotive recyclers for ELV-treatment, since this will lead to a dramatic reduction in the supply of good quality used car-parts and –components, which will lead to an increased demand for new parts. This is definitely not in compliance with Article 7.1 of the directive, where it is clearly stated that preference should be given to re-use and recycling. Furthermore, since shredders are large-scale operations, the approach is in conflict with the directive, where it is stated in the preamble:

(23) Member States should ensure that in implementing the provisions of this Directive competition is preserved, in particular as regards the access of small and medium-sized enterprises to the collection, dismantling, treatment and recycling market.

EGARA therefore repeats its previous statements:

Hence, EGARA stresses that, the “natural” delivery point for ELVs is dismantlers – since:

  • dismantlers are locally based and therefore easily accessible for car-owners;
  • only dismantlers have the unique competence required in order to decide whether a received ELV, after de-pollution, is suitable for disassembly into re-useable spare parts;
  • dismantlers undertake the necessary pre-sorting of materials which, with current shredder-technologies, ensure that an optimum degree of recycling is possible;.
  • If ELVs go directly to shredders, optimum re-use cannot be ensured, and recycling will get priority over re-use which is not the intention of the directive.

 

  1. Service agreements

A further “barrier to re-use” is taking place in the service and repair agreement offered to car-owners by “authorised” car-dealers. In these agreements, where car-owners get a sort of “repair insurance” for 3-5 years, it is clearly specified that all repairs are done with new, original parts.

This is not only a violation of the ELV Directive, but also against the Commission regulation 1400/2002 (block exemption) and can only be seen as yet another attempt to “phase out” dismantlers, who primarily make their living from sales of good quality second-hand parts and aftermarket parts.

  1. Extended use of coded electronic components

 

With the growing use of coded electronic components in modern vehicles, automotive recylers/dismantlers are having increasing difficulties with being able to find parts for re-use. More and more we see that where electronics are used in components, e.g. injection boxes, ignition boxes etc., wings and mirrors, such components are coded in a way that it is only possible to use them in the particular car from which they come. This means that a fully functional used part cannot be used in another car of exactly the same make, model and year without being decoded and coded for the other car. The tools for doing this decoding and coding are available on the market, but since neither we, nor the dealers, receive the information about codes and what to do, we are not able to do it ourselves. It has to be done at the producers/importers.

Therefore, according to Article 8.4 of the Directive, saying:

Without prejudice to commercial and industrial confidentiality, Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that manufacturers of components used in vehicles make available to authorised treatment facilities, as far as it is requested by these facilities, appropriate information concerning dismantling, storage and testing of components which can be reused

we urge the Commission to undertake measures ensuring that information about coding of electronic parts is supplied for use, together with the OEM-numbers and the supplier part numbers.

EGARA

2003.11.14