Memorandum by VALPAK
UK GOVERNMENT CONSULTANT PAPER ON DIRECTIVE
2000/53/EC ON END OF LIFE VEHICLES
Valpak is the largest UK compliance scheme for
the packaging waste regulations (legislation introduced in the
UK to comply with the EC's directive on packaging and packaging
waste). Valpak has over 3,000 member companies from all industries
and sectors in the packaging chain which constitutes a market
share of around 55 per cent of all obligated companies. As far
as the compliance market is concerned, we have a market share
of around 65 per cent.
Representatives from Valpak regularly meet with
UK government officials, policy makers and other stakeholders
to contribute to debates on packaging, waste electronics and other
producers responsibility issues. Valpak is in a unique position
in that we have knowledge of the processes involved in setting
up the practical implementation of producer responsibility legislation
in packaging and we are well positioned to use this experience
and learning to comment on developments of this type of legislation
for other waste streams.
In this response we comment on the benefits
and disadvantages associated with the proposed options in the
End of Life Vehicles consultation paper, as well as illustrate
areas which we feel should be addressed in detail.
The paper suggests that producers may recover
their own vehicles by putting in place adequate national collection
systems of their own. Firstly, the term "adequate" would
need to be closer defined in order to achieve a common and suitable
standard for these new systems. However, any proposals to duplicate
already existing infrastructure is likely to prove much more costly
for producers. We believe that it would be more advantageous to
contract with already existing facilities rather than set up new
ones as, in this way, existing infrastructure would be utilised
to its full capacity in the short term, and developed further
in the long term. We have managed to achieve this in packaging
which has resulted in significant cost advantages to UK industry
compared to some other European Member States which have created
a separate parallel infrastructure.
An additional disadvantage of brand assigned
recovery facilities is that there is an additional cost to the
last owner of the vehicle because he would have to take the vehicle
to a specific recycling centre for recovery which may not necessarily
be the nearest one.
The problem that would still need to be addressed
though if producers were made responsible for their own vehicles'
recovery is how they keep track of where their vehicles are recycled
and how to count recovered vehicles to make up the national targets,
especially if non-contracted facilities are involved in the recovery
process. A single clearly defined point in the chain needs to
be identified as the most practical stage to identify and count
Identification of producers in a system where
individual companies, including importers and distributors, can
be made responsible to recycle will be very difficult due to the
multiple of players. Car imports could be particularly problematic
to trace especially where e-commerce and non-assigned distribution
centres are involved. Putting in place separate requirements for
domestic manufacturers, brand-assigned distributors, importers
and small distributors is bound to complicate achieving compliance
as well as enforcement.
We believe that effective enforcement of legislation
is a key to its success and in the best interests of responsible
producers. Our experience in packaging has shown that without
effective enforcement some obligated companies may delay their
participation and compliance with the legislation thus putting
a greater burden on those companies that do choose to comply with
the law. Effective enforcement allows for a fairer distribution
of responsibilities and obligations; and legislation is best enforced
if it is as straight forward as possible to police. Compiling
accurate data returns will also provide a challenge if all participants
need to file their data with the regulator separately.
Valpak expects that this approach would be likely
to lead to the lowest compliance cost solution for producers.
As suggested, manufacturers could discharge their responsibility
individually or establish a collective compliance scheme. This
type of approach, where producing businesses contract out the
task of compliance to a specialist third party organisation, has
been very popular with packaging producers with over 80 per cent
of currently affected businesses choosing this route.
The main advantages of a compliance scheme approach
for producers are that:
it provides them with immunity from
individual prosecution for non-compliance;
it enables businesses to outsource
a complex task thus being able to continue to solely focus on
their core capabilities;
it achieves a lower total cost through
economies of scale and shared expertise;
it provides a collective voice on
Collective contracts with treatment facilities
would also have the advantage that their nature and operation
would be easier to regulate as there are fewer operators.
This approach appears more difficult to manage
and Valpak would expect it to result in higher overall costs for
The disadvantage of going down the route of
contractual agreements between producers and preferred recyclers
non-contracted sites which would
also recover a certain proportion of ELVs would not necessarily
benefit from direct funds. This seems to place them at a competitive
disadvantage and does not seem appropriate as non-contracted sites
would certainly contribute towards the achievement of national
recovery levels. A separate funding system for non-contracted
sites would therefore have to be agreed.
The administrative and regulatory
difficulties of having to identify all vehicles by brand in order
to determine the amount each producer would have to pay to each
site. This type of administration would have to be carried out
by sites who have contracted with more than one producer as well
as those who have not contracted at all.
It would therefore seem more advantageous to
allow all recyclers to take in all scrap vehicles. This would
result in a more homogenous producer responsibility system similar
to that currently in place for packaging. It would eliminate the
need to identify scrap by brand and ensure financing is split
fairly between all obligated parties. A broad system with accreditation
for sites fit to treat and recycle, and where it did not matter
which producer recovered what vehicle would certainly be less
bureaucratic, easier to police and less prone to data problems.
This option is likely to result in a higher
cost to the end user who will have to find a facility for their
own particular make of car which may not necessarily be the nearest
It is difficult to assess how assigning a "green
category" to cars would impact on production and subsequently
on compliance. These protocols can be highly judgemental and factors
determining "green" are currently unknown. It could
be argued however that cars that are easier to recycle could be
passed to shredders at a lower cost and thus discourage production
of cars difficult to recycle as it will impact directly on the
producer's cost of compliance.
As said earlier, a single clearly defined point
in the chain needs to be identified as the most practical stage
to determine that a given tonnage of ELVs has been treated and
that the resulting material has been sent for reprocessing. These
businesses would issue the approved documents to certify this
activity. Our learning from packaging is that the fewer sites
requiring monitoring the better. The shredding stage, with relatively
few sites to monitor, could represent the most practical point
in the chain to achieve this. The issue of certificates of destruction
would certainly be much more resource intensive where compliance
had to be identified at brand level to ensure all products have
been accounted for at the end of their life.
There is certainly a need for immediate data
capture of vehicles that have been recovered, not only for the
purpose of notification to the DVLA, but also in order to ensure
that timely and accurate information is available on vehicle recycling.
Electronic as opposed to manual systems would certainly aid this
The payment for the recovery of historic products
will be an issue of much debate regardless of which option is
chosen in the end. Without doubt, the cost will need to be apportioned
in a way deemed "fair" to all industry participants.
One key consideration should be that the system introduced should
not put one producer at a competitive advantage over another.
It appears to Valpak that the only realistic
and practical option is to share costs by current market share.
This is because this new legislation clearly imposes new costs
of operating in the sector which has not generally been provided
for by producers in previous years. It would not therefore appear
to be fair or consistent with changes to other environmental of
safety legislation to make it retrospective.
Asking the final owner of a vehicle to meet
the costs of recovery for vehicles scrapped between 2002-2006
could potentially make the abandoned vehicle problem worse and
may not be considered "fair" by those affected. People
who purchase "old" vehicles usually do this for economical
reasons and would probably not be willing to contribute towards
the recycling costs.
In addition to a certificate of destruction
a method of certifying the tonnage of vehicles produced and the
tonnage of recycling achieved needs to be devised so that producers'
performance against targets can be measured. There appear not
to be any specific proposals in the consultation for how this
should be achieved.
The paper addresses the need for recovery facilities
of vehicles to be accessible to consumers within a reasonable
range. However, at a density of one collector within every ten
miles (if England were square) we would need approximately 300
collection points. The currently low populated areas of Scotland
and Wales would not be able to utilise these facilities to the
full whereas others could exceed capacity. The decision of density
of recycling plants should therefore not depend on how long a
customer would need to drive to get to it but on population density.
There is no mention in the consultation document
what roles other economic operators such as Local Authorities,
Insurance Companies, etc would play. The document also does not
suggest how vandalised or abandoned cars and accident vehicles
should be dealt with.
Valpak remains open-minded about the most effective
solution to deal with the implementation of the requirements set
out by the European Directive on ELVs, but our experience in packaging
has led us to the following key conclusions:
1. The definition and implementation of
the adopted system should be industry led. That is to say by the
vehicle producers (ie manufacturers and importers) as they have
the responsibility for meeting the targets and associated costs
as defined in the Directive. The recovery industry and other third
parties need to be involved in the process but in a supporting
2. The chosen solution must build on existing
systems. Re-inventing a completely new infrastructure could be
very costly whereas using existing facilities would utilise all
current capacity in the short term and build efficiencies in the
3. Extensive bureaucracy should be avoided.
We would not recommend duplicating the current packaging data
submission system which has proven to be highly complex. Industry
needs to develop a simplified data capture process, perhaps based
more on standard masses and agreed protocols which would minimise
the need for exhaustive data research and compilation by each
individual producer. The system proposed should be flexible and
allow producers to be able to recover other producer's vehicles
in order to make up their target recovery tonnages.
4. A small number of compliance schemes
or single scheme is a more efficient solution for the UK as a
whole. The proliferation of packaging schemes has lead to the
dispersion of efforts and a lack of efficient national planning.
5. We believe that effective enforcement
of the legislation is key to its success and in the best interests
of responsible producers.
6. We strongly believe in the use of progressive
or staged targets that allow for progressive investment strategies
and the ability to plan long term.
7. It is also important to ensure that the
system introduced is deemed "fair" by consumers and
does not increase abandonment.