The European Commission first proposed the ELV
directive in 1997. It places the responsibility firmly on vehicle
manufactures to take back and scrap cars in the future. The EU directive
requires that 85% of a vehicle, measured by weight, be capable of
recovery and reuse by the end of 2005 (the current figure for recycling
is about 75%, which relates to the metal content). The recovery
and reuse/recycling targets rise to 95% and 85%, respectively, by
2015, which means the amount of waste being disposed of in landfill
would fall from the current figure of about 25% to less than 5%.
For this reason the EU now has several ongoing projects to develop
and select the best solution to help increase the amount of car
recycling being carried out. These projects are medium to long term
as it takes time to come up with the answers before validating and
actually implementing them.
European Thematic Network
In anticipation of the ELV directive, a
European Thematic Network (ETN) was set up. The 'Eco-efficient
network of end-of-life vehicles with emphasis on plastics'
was established in 1998 with funding from the EU's Industrial
and Materials Technologies programme. Its aim was to act as
a forum (with three working groups) and as an information
service on the various recovery options across Europe for
plastics in end-of-life vehicles.