Metal recyclers given ‘green light’ to convert car waste

A landmark decision from the Environment Agency and Defra could mean that almost 800,000 tonnes of non-recyclable material from cars will now be recovered as energy every year.

The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has welcomed the news, which will see waste from vehicles being diverted from landfill and converted into high quality plastics and electricity.

Currently 85% of end-of-life vehicles can be recovered and recycled in the UK. However, a deposit left at the end of the shredder process once all the recyclable material has been extracted, known as auto shredder residue (ASR), cannot be recycled.

This decision allows energy recovery via the thermal processing of ASR, rather than disposing of it to landfill.

The BMRA, which represents the £5bn metals recycling industry in the UK, says the decision has given its 300 members the green light to proceed with the significant investment needed ahead of EU recovery targets – set to increase to 95% in 2015.

BMRA director general Ian Hetherington said: “This is a long awaited decision which represents the best outlet for the material which until now could only be landfilled.

“The UK metal recycling industry has been waiting for a positive decision in order for them to determine how best to drive up recycling rates for end-of-life vehicles (ELV) while generating growth for the sector and the country.

“For more than two years, BMRA and key players in the industry have been calling for Government to be decisive in providing a policy framework in which the UK metals recycling industry can take a lead in the advanced recovery of end-of-life consumer goods in Europe.

“Now with the right policy framework in place, the metals recycling industry will endeavour to retain a lead in developing materials recycling and recovery, whilst creating green jobs and growth in the sector.”

Conor McGlone

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