Amsterdam, The Netherlands – ARN has published a summary of the most serious obstacles to the recycling of End-of-Life Vehicles. The report is part of a series of three ‘bottleneck’ analyses developed by the NEW InnoNet consortium. The other two consider technological obstacles in recycling chains for e-waste and packaging waste.
As a waste product, the ‘End-of-Life Vehicle’ (ELV) still captures economic value as a source of second-hand parts, high grade metals and engineering plastics. A wide array of value chain stakeholders is capable to achieve a gross material recycling percentage of minimum 85% by weight, in many EU Member States. ELVs are often regarded as a true example of circular economy and ‘near zero waste’ performance.
The complicating factor is that data in the ELV chain is difficult to obtain as many economic and organisational operators and interests are involved. Available data is often without a transparent calculation or just not reliable. National standards such as regulations and industry practices deviate extensively between EU member states, which impacts reliability of a gross European wide analysis.
The NEW InnoNet project is funded by EU Programme Horizon 2020; it is an initiative to establish a European platform for stakeholders aiming to show how the concept of circular economy can be further enhanced and stimulated. Achieving clear understanding of the performance of the ELV value chain leads to identification of bottlenecks throughout the value chain, of which a selection is prioritised by using the Multi Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) method.
The Project identified a number of bottlenecks hampering further improvement in quantity and quality. And dentified five most significant, quantifiable bottlenecks.
Inadequate performance of the separation, sorting and refining technology: Vehicle (material) innovation in the construction phase leads to higher levels of intermingled, alloyed and glued material particles. New components are required to be lighter by weight, but with similar or better operational performance. In the current recycling system, this leads to a higher degree of materials with overlapping properties
Inadequate performance of vehicle dismantling and reuse application: Construction complexity and smart connected parts leads to higher effort required to dismantle components for a reuse application. High Voltage components require more safety measures by the collection and dismantling chain. The opportunity to dismantle parts for material recycling decreases as intrinsic material value depletes.
Limited and low quality application outlets of non-metallic ELV materials: Economic and technical feasibility to sort, separate and refine non-metallics is low, due to the heterogeneous composition of ‘shredder waste’. Materials are sorted and due to their low economical value, can only be recycled in low grade applications.
Inadequate performance of ELV collection and monitoring: Interpretation of what actually an End of Life Vehicle is, how it should be recycled and how the recycling sub quota should be monitored and judged, is depending on many factors. This creates unclarity for stakeholders and provides incentives for substandard treatment. It further results in a lack of reliable data availability on vehicle registration and composition, ELV collection and vehicle / ELV trade
Low-cost of energy recovery and landfilling alternatives compared to material recovery: In some EU Member States, overcapacities (and competition) in incineration facilities and landfill deposits, as well low taxation rates, lead to low gatefees. This creates an unlevel playing field compared to material recycling, of which the operational costs are usually higher than of incineration and disposal.
The list of not quantifiable bottlenecks and more information can be downloaded under newinnonet.eu.