Recent developments

  1. Introduction

As some readers may recall, I last time wrote about the definition of producer responsibility and work/costs necessary in order to de-pollute an ELV. Since then, things have developed and a new “hot item” for Automotive Recyclers have “popped up”: The Polish government has issued a draft legislation considering a ban on re-use of certain parts and components.

  1. Producer responsibility

EGARA’s view on this and especially the work/costs involved in de-polluting an ELV were presented at a very well attended Car-recycling conference in Cologne, Germany May 31. – June 2. – 2005, a conference where also ARA’s Executive Vicepresident George K. Eliades was present.

Upon presenting EGARA’s estimate on average treatment times to around 100 minutes, there was immediate answer from GM, claiming that their research showed 23 minutes – in the worst possible case! – and that we really needed to study this together. Following this clear and open invitation, chairman of the MVDA, UK and member of the EGARA Executive Committee, Paul Fox and I went to see the ELV-manager Willi Fey and his colleague Kai Siegwart in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

During a very constructive meeting, it became clear how the difference occurs. It simply has to do with how you define “producer responsibility”!

Based upon the general assumption that GM only wishes to work with operational and sustainable dismantlers, GM distinguishes between:

Environment / Dismantler


i.e. the functions necessary to perform in order to comply with general environment law, including the administrative items specified in this, e.g. COD-issuing; i.e. the functions a dismantler would have to perform anyhow in order to have an operation, e.g. moving between work-places, preparing for delivery of waste-fractions, hulks etc.

Producer responsibility:

i.e. the items necessary to perform in order to comply with the rules for (pre-) treatment activities in Annex 1 of the ELV-directive, in order for producers to live up to their responsibility as described in the Directive respectively in the national transcriptions.

Whether these definitions are legally correct seen in relation to the Directive is, in EGARA’s views, doubtful and although we could very well understand the argumentation, we avoided “legal disputes” and will leave it up to pertinent authorities to clarify this – a process which we have initiated. In addition to this, EGARA will carefully examine the GM study and continue the discussion. We will of course keep ARA Magazine readers posted on this.

  1. Polish legislation

Way back in summer 2002, the Commission’s DG Enterprise – as responsible for the Type Approval Directive – held a work-shop on re-use of parts for all stakeholders. This work-shop was held as a response to a claim from CLEPA – the European umbrella membership organisation for the global Automotive Supply industry,. CLEPA found that a directive which would ban re-use of a lot of components and parts + require quality certification of dismantlers, was necessary in order to avoid environment and traffic security hazards as a result of re-use. EGARA of course presented its views there, and the general conclusion of the work-shop was, that the Commission did not see any need at all for a directive. Only one delegate found it necessary: The representative of the Polish government! Although we have all believed that the issue died then, it now appears that it did not! At least not in Poland, where the Minister for Infrastructure has issued a proposal in the context of the ELV-directive, proposing to put a ban on re-use of the following parts and components:


No Equipment and parts
1 Airbags with pyrotechnic activators, electronic control units and sensors
2 Brake pads and shoes
3 Brake lines and seals
4 Exhaust silencers
5 Steering and suspension joints
6 Car seats with integrated seatbelts and/or airbags
7 Steering wheel locking systems
8 Immobilisers and electric control transponders
9 Anti-theft and alarm devices
10 Electric and electronic components of road safety systems (in particular ABS and ASR)
11 Fuel pipes
12 Disposable filters and filter refills
13 Exhaust gas recirculation valves
14 Accelerators
15 Automatic and non-automatic seatbelt sets, including seatbelt parts made of fabric, buckles, belt retractor mechanisms and pyrotechnic and mechanical activators
16 Windscreen wiper blades
17 Working fluids, in particular motor oil, gear oil, oil for hydraulic gears, oil for hydraulic systems, cooling liquids, antifreeze, brake fluids and air-conditioning system fluids
18 Catalytic converters
19 Capacitors containing PCBs

EGARA’s view on this is of course, that if proper quality control of these equipments and parts are done, there are absolutely no hazards, and taking into account that in many countries quality certification systems have been developed, and that in particular the Polish association is working on developing a system according to the EGARA minimum standards for certification system, this piece of (proposed) legislation is not only out of line with the ELV-directive – where re-use should be encouraged – but also completely unnecessary! Further we will in our complaint to the Commission and the Polish government also point out the fact, that ARA has demonstrated that, there are absolutely no problems concerning re-use of airbags – although some producers claim the opposite.

We simply have to protest! A Polish law may create a precedent in other countries – and that would not at all be of interest to our business – at least not to the serious and professional side of it we represent.

Lennart Scharff