Three Days in the World of Automobile Recycling

According to the organizers, the International Automobile Recycling Congress IARC 2016 – which took place in Berlin, Germany, from 16 to 18 March – was a success.

More than 220 representatives of the global automotive recycling sector had come together to discuss current political conditions and the latest trends in recycling technology. The congress team had prepared almost 30 presentations and a panel discussion for the participants. In addition, the congress was accompanied by an exhibitors‘ forum comprising 24 companies.

The talks and discussions at the IARC showed that even 15 years after the enactment of the EU end-of-life vehicle directive, there is no danger of running out of topical issues to discuss. Quite the contrary in fact, as the increasing application of composite materials and carbon fibre-reinforced plastics as well as the broader use of lithium-ion batteries are factors confronting end-of-life vehicle recyclers with an array of new challenges that will need to be met during the next few years.



Cooperation needed

Right at the beginning of the conference, the keynote speech held by Dr. Kay Oppat, Chief Operating Officer of the Scholz Group, soon became a source of animated discussion. In his speech, Dr. Oppat called for the formation of a think tank consisting of representatives from automotive manufacturers, suppliers and recycling companies. The underlying idea is to find a common approach to increase the availability of end-of-life vehicles. Professor Julian Allwood from the University of Cambridge was of a similar opinion. He was convinced that the recycling of end-of-life vehicles offers great potential for innovation and in his keynote speech he encouraged those members of the recycling industry attending the IARC to demand support in achieving this aim.

Technical matters

The main focus of further speeches dealt with finding and developing suitable measures and treatments that will enable that the set recycling, reuse and recovery targets are met. In addition, a separate block of presentations addressed the topics waste-to-energy and gasification processes. Other items on the agenda were field reports, new methods of research and the presentation of innovative treatment processes. Here, the IARC participants had the choice between attending presentations in the congress hall or presentations as part of the “Company Spotlight and Tech Talks“, which were held as a supporting program in the exhibitors‘ forum.

Car recycling in China, India, Turkey and Brazil

Country reports are another regular feature of the IARC. This year, Wei Sun from Volkswagen (China) Investment Co. provided listeners with an insight into the development of end-of-life vehicle recycling regulations in China.

He informed the attendants that

  • the focus of the Chinese government for ELV recycling is changing into environment protection and resource efficiency;
  • the recycling related requirements for new vehicle products are already integrated into the type approval process in China and effective now;
  • car manufactures are already involved into the area of end-of-life vehicle recycling and would be required to take more responsibility there.


According to Wei Sun, considering the national plan for new energy vehicles popularization and application in China, soon more regulations and standards regarding the HV-battery recycling are going to be released and come into effect.

Captain N S Mohan Ram of the Indian company TVS Motor Company Limited provided information on end-of-life vehicle recycling in India. As reported, India has to create a viable and environmentally sound car recycling industry, as the number of ELVs will grow. In his opinion this is a great opportunity for European nations to interact positively with Indian authorities in setting up corresponding systems. He also sees a large potential market in India for European manufacturers of recycling equipment and consultants, because there is a need for tailor-made solutions with greater use of manual labor to suit local conditions.

Cagri Akin from the Turkish company Remer/ÖTASAD reported on the car recycling sector in Turkey and informed that in 2014 around 10,460 vehicles were recycled. It is estimated that in 2023 this number will increase to 350,000 vehicles. In Turkey, a training center on ELV dismantling will be developed. The purpose of the demonstration and training facility will be to raise the general level of know­ledge in waste management with a focus on ELV recycling. Furthermore, Arturo Rufino of the company JR Diesel and Bruno Garfinkel of the insurance company Porto Seguro gave an insight in ELV recycling developments in Brazil.

The common thread running through all presentations, however, was the firm aim to improve the recycling of end-of-life vehicles through greater efforts to achieve a circular economy.

On the third day of the congress, the attendees had the opportunity to experience current practical approaches at first hand. They had a choice of four different plant tours: to ArcelorMittal in Eisenhüttenstadt, Callparts Recycling in Ketzin, CCT Stegelitz in Möckern or Volkswagen in Wolfsburg.

Photo: ICM