Quantifying the Environmental Impact of Using Recycled Parts
ARC/OARA’s research project with Oakdene Hollins aims to take a detailed look at the ecological benefits in using recycled parts.
Recently the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA) embarked on a research project with Oakdene Hollins.
The object of this research is to quantify the true environmental benefits of Green Recycled Parts.
Essentially, this project follows on from interactions we’ve already had with several insurers and collision repair shops regarding Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) practices and how recycled vehicle parts play a part in that.
“We see this as a real opportunity to put some facts and figures behind what we do as recyclers.”
Although there is a consensus that recycling and reusing parts wherever possible is good, what we want with this research project is to properly quantify every single part that gets reused. We’ve seen a number of these kinds of initiatives take place in different jurisdictions, including B.C., Quebec and Massachusetts, as well as in Germany, Japan, and the UK, yet there is still a significant amount of work that needs to be done.
That’s one reason why we’ve hired management consulting firm Oakdene Hollins to work with us for this new project—to help us document what our members do on a daily basis—such as salvaging vehicles, removing parts and have them ready so they can be placed back into the supply chain. While this aspect is a major focus of the project, so is aligning such practices with NetZero targets. We see a direct parallel between what we’re trying to do on the environmental side of things in conjunction with the reuse of parts.
To help develop a deeper understanding of what’s required, the report will break down parts into different categories, such as engines, mirrors, door panels and hoods. These categories will then be measured by weight and the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) implications of transporting these parts and getting them back into the system. For example, by reusing an engine, there is the potential to save 21 tons of carbon, and with our industry selling a specific number of engines, the reduction in emissions by adopting this practice grows exponentially.
Building on previous studies
This is ultimately where ESG points to and it builds on from previous studies that Oakdene Hollins has conducted, including one with Synetiq—which is one of the big, consolidated auto recycling operators in the UK.
The results from our report will be available in September and we’re optimistic that they will serve as a catalyst in engaging with relevant parties to demonstrate the importance of recycling vehicles properly and reusing their parts.
We see this as a real opportunity to put some facts and figures behind what we do as recyclers, allowing our members to gain confidence in what they are doing, as well as enabling other sectors to gain greater insight into our world and how we operate.
By providing some factual data points, we’re hoping that they can see the real-world benefits in using recycled parts to not only help meet emissions reduction and NetZero objectives, but also the positive impact they have on the entire automotive ecosystem.
Article originally appeared in Autosphere Magazine, August/September 2023