Every year, over six million vehicles across Europe reach the end of their life and are treated as waste. When end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are not properly managed, they can cause environmental problems and the European economy loses millions of tonnes of materials.
The automotive manufacturing industry is among the largest consumers of primary raw materials such as steel, aluminium, copper, and plastics, but makes little use of recycled materials. Although the recycling rates of materials from ELVs are generally high, the scrap metals produced are of low quality and only small amounts of plastic are recycled.
The ELV Directive was adopted in 2000 and it was the first harmonised EU framework designed to ensure that vehicles reaching the end of their life and considered as waste are treated in an environmentally sound manner. The Directive sets out provisions on the collection and depollution of ELVs, it restricts hazardous substances in new vehicles and sets targets on reuse and recycling (85%) and on reuse and recovery (95%), based on the average weight of ELVs per vehicle and year. Since its adoption, the legislation has not been substantially amended.