Legislative threat pushes car makers to act on recycling

The imminent threat of recycling legislation has prompted car manufacturers to pool their resources and start developing a recycling strategy under the newly formed Automotive Consortium on Recycling and Disposal (ACORD).

The move follows a recent decision by the European Commission to make used cars its third priority waste stream (ENDS Report 204, p 35 ). Car manufacturers and their suppliers, dismantlers and EC Member States will now have to agree a collaborative strategy to reduce car waste. The UK Government, responding to past inaction on recycling by the motor industry, is also expected to challenge it to publish a recycling strategy with targets and deadlines.

ACORD was formed in a belated attempt by the industry to prove that it is tackling the waste problem. Its establishment was also advocated by the Centre for Exploitation of Science and Technology's car recycling working group (ENDS Report 198, p 12).

The consortium will aim to provide "an influential platform" for the UK industry in the international debate, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. By July, ACORD hopes to define a vehicle scrapping strategy and initiate pilot projects on critical aspects of car recycling. It is due to complete an assessment of the feasibility of its strategy by early 1993. The Government may push for a tighter timetable.

There is a distinct discrepancy between CEST's recommendations for membership of the group and its actual members. These are Ford, Jaguar, Rover, Vauxhall, BMW, Nissan and Peugeot-Talbot, with the car scrapping businesses Bird Group and United Engineering Steels as advisors.

CEST wanted a group fully representative of the key industry sectors, including raw material and component suppliers, in order to provide "market drive into the structure." A multi-sectoral consensus would also have given the strategy more credibility and greater possibility of success. But several manufacturers would not have joined ACORD if non-manufacturers were included, according to Derrick Gentle, its Chairman.

Meanwhile, BMW is expected to open its first car dismantling and reprocessing plant in the UK by June. This will no longer be dedicated to BMWs alone. The company, like all of ACORD's members, has said it will share its knowledge and recycling resources.

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