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EU Commission proposes a new regulation on end-of-life vehicles

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.

On 13 July 2023 the Commission proposed a new Regulation on end-of-life vehicles, following a review. In line with the European Green Deal and with the Circular Economy Action Plan, the proposal for an ELV Regulation builds on and replaces two existing Directives: Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles and Directive 2005/64/EC on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their reusability, recyclability and recoverability. The evaluation of these Directives has shown that considerable improvements were needed to boost the transition of the automotive sector to a circular economy, thereby reducing the environmental footprint linked to the production and end-of-life treatment of vehicles and strengthening the sustainability of the automotive and recycling industry in Europe. Even though the UK is no longer part of the EU, the UK and its automotive industry must adopt or mirror the proposed new legislation - we are the 5th largest importer of cars in the world, and eight out of ten cars built in the UK, are currently exported.

The proposed new rules cover all aspects of a vehicle from its design and placement on the market until its final treatment at the end-of-life:

  • improve circular design of vehicles to facilitate removal of materials, parts and components for reuse and recycling

  • ensure that at least 25% of plastic used to build a vehicle comes from recycling (of which 25% from recycled ELVs)

  • recover more and better-quality raw materials, including CRMs, plastics, steel and aluminium

  • ensure that producers are made financially responsible for vehicles when they become waste, to ensure proper financing for mandatory ELV treatment operations and incentivise recyclers to improve quality

  • put a stop to vehicles going “missing”, through more inspections, interoperability of national vehicle registration systems, improved distinction of used vehicles from end-of-life vehicles and a ban on exporting used vehicles that aren’t roadworthy

  • cover more vehicles, and gradually expand EU rules to include new categories such as motorcycles, lorries, and buses, ensuring a proper end of life treatment.



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