Recycling : Germany tops EU for automobile recovery

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Germany has the best automobile recovery rate within a European context, a study finds.

Conducted by SaveOnEnergy, a UK based recycling lobby group, the results of the study show that Germany trumps the EU’s average recovery and reuse rate by 7.5%.

The End of Life Vehicles Directive (EVL) targets the 8 to 9 million metric tonnes of automobile waste going to European landfills on annual basis, the aim being to render automobile dismantling, recycling and reuse more environmentally friendly as well as convince producers to make automobiles free of hazardous substances from the get-go.

To conduct the study, experts at SaveOnEnergy relied on data provided by Eurostat End-Of-Life Vehicle Waste Management Operations which records and ranks the best and worst recyclers across the board.

With regards to method, each country’s reuse and recovery rate was set against the average EU recovery and reuse rate within the time period of 2006 to 2018. The sum of total reused and total recovered waste was then divided by total waste and multiplied by 100 in order to calculate the total tonnage of recovered and reused automobile waste.

In the ranking, Austria placed second to Germany at a recovery rate of 4,79%, followed by Iceland with 4,28%, the Netherlands with 3,16% and Belgium with 2,93%. Ranked last with regards to EU average was Malta, with -17.60%.

End-of-Life Vehicles in Germany

Germany sports nearly 40 million vehicles. Each year, the country sees around half a million cars and light utility vehicles scrapped. The process sees pollutants such as lead batteries or recyclable parts such as tires as well as liquids such as motor oil and anti-freeze removed, with bodies scrapped mechanically to recover the likes of iron or aluminium that is then sold on to scrap dealers. 97% of metal in Germany ends up recycled.

Efficient car recycling not only diverts waste from landfills, thereby improving the ecological footprint of the car manufacturing industry but can also serve as an alternative source of low-cost components for the repair of vehicle that might be taken out of service.

The reuse and recovery of cars in Germany is governed by the EU’s EVL directive which was adopted into national law in 2002.

The ELV regulation aims to prevent and limit waste from end-of-life vehicles and their components as well as improve the environmental performance of all economic operators involved in the life cycle of vehicles.