• Madani Sahari

Promising future for auto-parts recycling

END-OF-LIFE vehicles (ELV) offer numerous recyclable materials such as steel, aluminium, plastic, antifreeze and batteries, and salvageable parts and components such as engines, transmission, compressors and alternators for reconditioning and reuseable opportunities.

It is estimated that some 27 million vehicles globally reach end of their useful life annually and are recovered for recycling. When cars are scrapped, some 75 per cent (by weight) of the materials are recyclable while the remaining is disposed into landfills.

An estimated five million tonnes of non-recyclable materials, including plastic, rubber, wood, paper, fabric and glass are shredded for disposal into landfills annually. The colossal amount of these wasted non-recyclable materials is now an environmental concern.

Currently, Malaysians own more than 10 million vehicles of which some five million vehicles are more than 10 years old while some are approaching the end of their usable lives.

It only makes sense for some of the owners of the ageing vehicles to choose reusable parts and components in their vehicle maintenance exercises.

Fully recyclable parts and components will not only benefit the owners in prolonging their ELVs, but at the same time they are economical to own in the long run as reusable parts and components that are 50 per cent or less cheaper are readily available.

In general, accidents do not destroy every part in an automobile as at least a dozen parts and components can be salvaged. An organised selling and salvaging of ELV or wrecked vehicles will provide some financial returns to the consumers, while generating lucrative businesses among auto recyclers.

Automotive manufacturers are aware of the demand and government’s foresight that soon their vehicles will have to adopt a full recyclable vehicle design concept. Future vehicles will be designed and manufactured with fully recyclable materials, parts and components that can be reconditioned for reuse repeatedly and eventually recycled. The components will be simple to dismantle and labelled so that they are identifiable for reuse and recyling.

Local automotive manufacturers must from now incorporate recycling and reusable parameters in all their future vehicle designs. This will not only be favourable to the consumers in reducing their vehicle maintenance costs, but open up recycling and remanufacturing businesses in the automotive after-market sector.

Advanced nations are considering regulating their automotive recycling industries with Europe proposing that automotive manufacturers be responsible for their vehicles’ ELV disposals.

Therefore, full recyling will soon be the competitive advantage among global automakers.

Steps have since been taken to inculcate the “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” practices within the local automotive ecosystem. Malaysia Automotive Institute has established close rapport with various industry players and related associations to formulate strategies and activities to further boost the local recycling and remanufacturing capabilities.

National Occupational Skills Standard for the remanufacturing industry recently developed one of those initiatives. Involving local recycling industrialists and academia, the re-manufacturing development is a starting point towards boosting the quality of manpower required within the sector.

Automotive stakeholders like the manufacturers, vendors, related authorities and recycling operators should collaborate in initiatives towards developing the local industry.

Public awareness too is crucial to ensure a future sustainable local recycling and remanufacturing industrial ecosystem.

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