“A vehicle is not a waste” but a commodity.
The auto industry is taking extraordinary steps to improving the environmental performance of their products by designing for the environment. Environmental analysis is conducted from the very beginning in the concept initiation phase of a new vehicle’s design and thereafter as environmental criteria are integrated into each step of product and process design area (design for manufacture, design for assembly, product performance, packaging, etc.). This includes examining and assessing recycled content of materials and the marking of the components to assist with its recyclability and reuse at the end of the vehicle’s life.
Motor vehicles are among the most highly recyclable products (90%), notwithstanding their sophistication. End-of-life vehicles (ELV) have economic value and in particular the metals associated with vehicle construction as ELVs are eventually recycled as scrap metal and in many instances reintroduced into metal materials for new vehicle production. It is currently estimated that more than 95% of ELVs are processed to various degrees. Given their value, there has been a long standing infrastructure in North America to manage a vehicle at its end of life.