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Auto Recyclers’ Code of Practice leads to Positive Change

At a time when most industries are rising up against government sticking their bureaucratic noses in their business, why on earth would the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) be pushing for more regulation in their industry? In short, because it is necessary to protect the environment from unscrupulous scrap operators, and to preserve the economic viability of a responsible recycling industry.

Leading the way
The association is leading the way in controlling what it can. In January 2011, they adopted the National Code of Practice for Auto Recyclers as a condition of membership for all of its Direct Members – both existing and new. This stringent code was developed by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) to support the National “Retire Your Ride” program. It includes minimum compliance requirements to properly and legally process a vehicle in Ontario, along with best practices and guidance on some housekeeping items. OARA retained an independent auditor to physically visit each member and evaluate their business against the standardized protocol. A minimum score of 70% was required to pass the audit.

Methodical process preserves the environment
Every vehicle that an OARA member handles goes through a methodical process to maximize reclamation and minimize environmental impact. Reusable parts, batteries, mercury switches, oils, fluids, coolants, gasoline, and refrigerants are all removed and properly managed before the remaining hulk is sent for metal recycling.

Unfortunately for the industry and for the environment, not everybody processes end-of-life vehicles (ELV’s) the way OARA members do. It’s almost unfathomable, but there are some scrap operators who buy cars just to crush them and sell them for the value of the metal, allowing toxic fluids and heavy metals to escape into the soil and groundwater. They don’t recycle any usable parts and pay no regard to the damage they’re doing to the environment.

An industry threatened
Reputable auto recyclers are at a disadvantage on two fronts when it comes to purchasing vehicles. Both are a threat to the sustainability and economic viability of the entire industry. Without the cost of facilities, equipment, training and labour involved in handling vehicles responsibly, unscrupulous scrap operators can simply afford to pay more for a vehicle. Secondly, there is increased competition for good quality accidented vehicles at auction. With no restrictions on who can purchase a write-off, more vehicles are being shipped offshore where they can be repaired and re-sold without being “branded” as a total loss vehicle. That is driving up prices and threatening the supply of good quality recycled parts.

A level playing field
OARA is pushing for legislation that will ensure all vehicles be handled according to the National Code of Practice. If the standard to which they hold their members was a legislated requirement for all, it would level the playing field and put an end to the environmental nightmares.

They are encouraging both insurers and collision repairers to be aware of the situation they’re in and lend their support. The supply of good quality, recycled parts from reputable auto recyclers plays an integral part in keeping repair costs in line and reducing the number of write-offs. And from that we all benefit.