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The National Code: Auto recyclers take the high road

In February of 2009, Retire Your Ride (a government-funded, pro-environmental program) was started with the intention of removing highly polluting cars from the road. Within Ontario, the program allows the driving public to come into federally approved locations to scrap their 1995 or older vehicles to receive a cash reward equal to $300, along with other incentives. So in administering this program, what exactly did participating auto recyclers agree to?

With the creation of this program, a National Code of Practice was put in place. The code itself outlines requirements that must be upheld by all participants of the program, and ultimately sets a standard that shows how we differentiate ourselves from non-ARC (Automotive Recyclers of Canada) members and scrap yards. When establishing what areas must be referred to and covered in the code, it must be noted that auto recyclers themselves played a key role in the development of the National Code of Practice for Environment Canada. With the ARC taking an active role, they were able to make suggestions and proposals as to what they felt were the most important areas for the government to focus in on.

There are guidelines now in place in regards to the administration aspect of the program as well as the procedural obligations. This is to clarify the correct way to process all vehicles that come into the recycling facility. Fundamental steps in the process – such as the extraction of Freon and the removal of mercury switches and batteries from the vehicles – are key in the overall success of accomplishing the main goal: the green initiative.

Now that Retire Your Ride has been running for some time, as auto recyclers we have been able to learn and expand on many of our own practices. This ensures the regulations and standards are being both met and exceeded. It has become clear that more efficient procedures have been put in place as a result of this new initiative. Our front-line staff all took part in online and classroom training ranging from the administration of the program to the emergency spill remediation plans. These were completed as required and as a result employees were better educated and response times improved for important environmental elements of the program.

Intangibles such as workplace safety was one area in which we were able to make improvements because actions were being taken to ensure the requirements of the code were being fulfilled.

With being as environmentally friendly as possible as one of the main priorities, the program allows its auto recyclers to take the initiative a step further. In addition to reducing the amount of toxic emissions released into the air, auto recyclers further the green initiative by reusing non-emission-forming parts off the vehicles as opposed to merely scrapping them.
Precautionary measures such as the elimination of all potential sources of pollution from the vehicles are taken to ensure that we mitigate potential hazards to the environment.

Professional auto recyclers are the driving force behind the processing of the vehicles brought in by the program, and it is nice to finally be recognized as a significant contributor to the work being done toward accomplishing the cause.

The journey in running this program thus far has been a positive experience. We’ve all taken significant steps to achieving the greatest feasible impact on making the auto recycling industry as green as possible. Implementing the code of practice in our respective businesses is not only making a positive impact on the daily procedures and standards, but on the overall green initiative at hand.

Thank you to all those involved in the creation and implementation of this program. We look forward to other successful green initiatives in the future.

David Gold is the co-owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, an auto recycling facility with locations in Toronto, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York. He can be reached by phone at 416-286-8686 or via e-mail at, or you can view the company web site at