End of Life Vehicles Directive ELV EC

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The major objective of this Directive is one of waste prevention. It seeks to prevent waste from vehicles as well as the reuse and recycling of their components. It was implemented in the UK in 2003 with expanded responsibilities in 2005.

Member states must ensure that producers limit the use of certain hazardous substances in the manufacture of new vehicles. They must also consider a design for environment (DfE) approach to new designs to increase the scope for activities such as recycling. Producers have to pay 'all or a significant part' of the costs of treating ELV (whether they have a value or not). Member states have to set up collection systems for ELV and their components, ensuring all vehicles go to authorised treatment facilities with certificates for destruction issues for deregistration. Therefore the last holder of an ELV will be able to dispose of it free of charge with producers meeting a significant if not all of this cost.

Many aspects of this directive contain IPP thinking with the focus on the consideration of the potential for environmental damage throughout manufacture to end-of-life.

IPP thinking has been embraced by a number of manufacturers in the automotive sector (Figure 10.3). Examples of this include providing consumers with environmental information about their products by an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). There are recognised schemes for certifying this data in Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Norway and Canada for example, with Sweden and Japan leading the way. Core information is based on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and by compliance with ISO 14025 [4] and standardisation allows direct product comparision.

Whilst at the moment this is not seen by manufactures as an important factor in purchasing decisions by customers, EPD information can be found on a variety of automotive websites including Mercedes-Benz,

Figure 10.3 Cars (Source N. Goodship)

Toyota and Volkswagen. There is a considerable amount of activity by manufacturers in the field of LCA. This was driven specifically by the original demands of the ELV. Enforcing legislation has forced manufacturers to find novel solutions and innovate to survive. It has also allowed companies usually seen as rivals to come together to find ways to best meet demanding environmental targets to retain their place in the European Automotive market.

For plastics recycling this has meant the automotive industry has championed the standardisation of recyclate materials. This will allow manufacturers to have confidence in the use and performance of the recyclate materials they put on new vehicles. This is a significant step in the acceptance of using materials otherwise destined for landfill.

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