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Auto recyclers present new processes and solutions

IARC conference
IARC recently met in Berlin to look at ways to move auto recyling forward in the future.
Europe’s automobile recycling industry is confident of being able to meet the new requirements of the EU End-of-Life Vehicle Directive. Although the recycling rate of 95% in force since the beginning of the year is challenging, with the right processes and sufficient political will, it is achievable. This fact became increasingly clear in the course of some 30 lectures given at the annual International Automobile Recycling Congress IARC 2015, which was held in Berlin from March 25 to 27.

The content of the lectures covered a broad number of topics, ranging from the disassembling of end-of-life vehicles to the separation and recovery of critical metals. The main focus was on field reports, new methods of research and the presentation of new processes. For example, Manuel Burnand from the French recycler Derichebourg reported on his company’s shredder initiatives, while Elisa Bonaldi from the automotive supply company Federal Mogul presented a new noise suppression product, which can be recovered from the light shredder fraction. Other lectures addressed the topics of the new plasma-melting furnace from Duesman & Hensel, the IDIS disassembly information system and the recycling of batteries from electric vehicles.

The lectures were supplemented by country reports from Greece, the Netherlands, Mexico, Canada and India. Euripides Paul Korres from the Greek end-of-life vehicle recycler Anamet said his company was confident of being able to achieve the 95% recycling rate in the course of 2015. However, everyone who attended the congress agreed that not only the right technology is required, but also sufficient numbers of end-of-life vehicles to process.

The European Commission also shares this view. The illegal treatment and the exporting of end-of-life vehicles are the two most challenging problems facing the automobile recycling sector in Europe, emphasised Artemis Hatzi-Hull, responsible for waste management at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment. She also named a number of further measures that could be implemented to improve the recycling of end-of-life vehicles, including standardising the reporting system and providing vehicle-dismantling companies with more information on the recyclability of various materials.

Representatives of the automobile industry also made suggestions for improvement. Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), called for the introduction of a rule requiring proof of recycling. Wolfram Thomas, Group Chief Officer for the Environment, Energy and New Business Areas at carmaker VW, outlined his company’s environmental strategy at the IARC. By 2018, VW wants to become the most environmentally friendly car manufacturer worldwide. A key component in achieving this aim is the recycling of end-of-life vehicles. Furthermore, Reinhard Hoock from BMW pointed out the contribution the automobile industry has already made towards reducing the amount of heavy metals used in car manufacturing. Any further measures ought to be oriented on the state of economic and technical progress, he said in Berlin.

More than 250 people attended this year’s IARC in Berlin, as well as around 30 exhibitors. This year, the excursions made on the third day of the congress took participants to a post-shredder plant at the steel recycling company Scholz in Leipzig-Espenhain, to the shredding plant at the metal recycling group TSR in Brandenburg and to the BMW manufacturing plant in Leipzig. In 2016, the congress will again take place in Berlin from March 16 to 18.

June 2015

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