End-of-life vehicles

Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles was, when adopted in 2000, the first EU legislation prescribing producer responsibility.61 It aims at the prevention of waste from vehicles and at the reuse, recycling, and other forms of recovery of end-of-life vehicles and their components so as to reduce the disposal of waste, as well as at the improvement in the environmental performance of all of the economic operators involved in the life-cycle of vehicles. An ‘end-of-life vehicle’ is a vehicle which is waste within the meaning of Directive 2008/98/EC. (Arts 1 and 2.)

In order to promote the prevention of waste, Member States must encourage vehicle manufacturers to limit the use of hazardous substances in vehicles; to design and produce new vehicles which take into full account and facilitate the dismantling, reuse, and recovery, in particular the recycling, of end-of-life vehicles, their components, and materials; and to integrate an increasing quantity of recycled material in vehicles and other products, in order to develop the markets for recycled materials. Materials and components of vehicles put on the market after 1 July 2003 must not contain lead, mercury, cadmium, or hexavalent chromium other than in specific cases listed in Annex II (Art 4). According to the Commission, these substances have been almost completely removed from vehicles.62

Economic operators are to set up systems for the collection of all end-of-life vehicles and, as far as is technically feasible, of waste used parts removed when passenger cars are repaired. The Member States must ensure that all end-of-life vehicles are transferred to authorised treatment facilities. They shall also set up a system according to which the presentation of a certificate of destruction is a condition for deregistration of an end-of-life vehicle. Such certificates shall be issued to the holder and/or owner when end-of-life vehicles are transferred to a treatment facility. (Art 5.)

The Directive also sets specific reuse and recovery targets to be attained by economic operators, including that the reuse and recovery rate for all end-of-life vehicles had to reach a minimum of 95 per cent by an average weight per vehicle no later than 1 January 2015 (Art 7). In 2014 most Member States were deemed to be on track to reaching the targets, although there were some issues with reliability of data. The collection, shipment, and treatment of end-of-life vehicles by illegal operators are also reported to pose a challenge to the achievement of the environmental benefits of the Directive.63 Also, the increasing introduction of complex electronic systems and composite materials in vehicles represents significant challenges to recycling.64

The fact that the Directive, despite being based on a Treaty article corresponding to the current Article 192(1) TFEU, has been deemed to prevent a Member State from taking certain measures that would entail a more stringent environmental protection was discussed in section 4.2.3.

It should be noted that there is also a Directive 2005/64/EC on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their reusability, recyclability, and recoverability which lays down the administrative and technical provisions for the type-approval of certain vehicles with a view to ensuring that their component parts and materials can be reused, recycled, and recovered.65

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