Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Thursday, 8 December 2011

ELVs take centre stage at first ever Canadian forum on vehicle recycling

Movers and shakers in the automotive recycling industry and beyond came together from across Canada over two days in November to discuss the challenges and issues surrounding end-of-life vehicles.

This meeting was the very first National Forum on the Future of Vehicle Recycling in Canada, it was two days of solid information and trend forecasting, presented by some of the best and brightest minds in the automotive recycling world.

The first day’s session focused on the importance of a strong end-of-life vehicle management systems. One of the goals was to enhance stakeholder knowledge of the approaches used in various jurisdictions. Topics included successes and challenges of various provincial ELV management models within Canada, international best practices and approaches to ELV management and the current status and future of ELV management across the country.

Speakers for the first day highlighted how, although this was a Canadian forum, it draws on expertise from around the world. Speakers included Kasper Zom of Auto Recycling Nederland Advisory (ARN); Minoru Gouko, Acting Director of Japan Automotive Recyclers Association (JARA); and Michael E. Wilson, CEO of the U.S. based Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA). Canada was well represented too, with speakers including Krista Friesen, Stewardship Director for Summerhill Impact; Jamessee Moulton, Environmental Specialist with the Nunavut Department of Environment; Colin McKean, Executive Director of the B.C. Automotive Recyclers Environmental Association; and Claude Bourque, a socio-economic research and planning agent for Recyc-Quebec.

After the close of the day’s session, attendees were bused to AADCO Auto Parts in Brampton for a reception and tour of the facility. It was an eye-opening experience for anyone unfamiliar with how a fully modernized auto recycling works. As one OEM representative was heard to remark “If a picture is worth a thousand words, visiting here tonight is worth an entire days worth of discussion and presentations. This is unbelievable.”

Speakers for the second day included Steve Fletcher, Executive Director of OARA and Managing Director of ARC; Mark A. Nantais, President of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association; Ron Watkins, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association; David Creighton Adams, President of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada; and Dr. Leonard Shaw, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries.

The second day’s session focused on successfully implementing responsible ELV management in Canada. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs are some of the most commonly discussed methods for this, but those systems also have their disadvantages. Europe is often held up as an example of how well those programs work. However, during the Open Dialogue portion of the day’s event, it was noted that EPR is not working in Europe as well as some people would like to believe.

“EPR is not necessarily working in Europe,” said Kaspar Zom of Auto Recycling Nederland Advisory. “More than half of the member states are not meeting their targets.”

The very concept of having targets came under fire as well, for a variety of reasons. Although one delegate did point out that having a target gives you something to aim for, others noted that there are difficulties in establishing exactly where the baseline should be in the first place. There’s also the possibility that, if peculiar targets need to be met, then remote communities may be left out of the loop.

“I’ll say this: If I’ve got to hit a target, I’m not going to go to Nunavut,” said Colin McKean of B-CAR.

This National Forum did not layout the exact plan that recyclers, repairers, government and other concerned stakeholders will follow regarding end-of-life vehicles, nor was it supposed to. However, what was achieved is an excellent first step along that road.

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