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Ontario mulls car-recycling program

Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association pushing to make Ontario example for national car recycling strategy


August 11, 2011
by Canadian Manufacturing Daily Staff

TORONTO—The Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association is pushing for Ontario to kick-start a national program to regulate and license the recycling and disposal of old vehicles.

More than half a million passenger vehicles in the province require decommissioning each year, says the group that represents auto recyclers and manufacturers.

More than 95 per cent are processed to various degrees but two out of three so-called “end of life” vehicles aren’t managed to any environmental standard, it says.

Creating an industry-led environmental management system would create jobs, keep pollutants out of the environment and wouldn’t cost consumers —or the government—a dime, says Steve Fletcher, the association’s executive director.

Unlike electronics, recyclers wouldn’t need to charge consumers because they already make enough money from each vehicle to recover their costs, he says.

Depending on the vehicle, recyclers can extract $300 to $500 from a vehicle that costs $100 to $200 to recycle.

“There’s virtually no place in Ontario that even the lightest, scrappiest, rusted-out vehicle does not have enough value to cover that cost,” Fletcher says.

He says all that’s needed from the government are regulations and a licensing regime to certify recyclers to ensure they’re following the rules.

Environment Minister John Wilkinson wouldn’t say if the government would implement the program, but says he’s open to the idea.

“We’re always looking for that sweet spot in the economy where we are protecting our environment and creating good-paying jobs,” he says.

The province already has environmental laws that cover the safe recycling of automobiles, including rules that deal with emissions, soil and water, Wilkison says.

The association, which has the support of many auto manufacturers and the Canadian Automobile Association, hopes Ontario’s implementation of a common standard for managing old vehicles, other jurisdictions in Canada and across North America will follow suit.

“We’ll be working with recyclers to make sure that we can, in fact, take it across and convert this program into a national program,” said Mark Nantis, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturer’s Association, whose members include General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and Navistar.

Eighty-five per cent of a typical vehicle is readily recyclable, he says.