Canadian Auto Recyclers' Environmental Code
Automotive Recycling and the Environment

About 83% of an average car's content by weight can be recycled. That is one reason why it is important to ensure that your end-of-life vehicle (ELV) ends up in the hands of a responsible automotive recycler or dismantler. Vehicles also contain hazardous materials such as mercury, lead, refrigerants, antifreeze, oils and gasoline and other fluids which must be carefully removed and responsibly managed. Choosing a responsible recycler means these materials do not end up polluting our environment.

The Canadian Auto Recyclers Environmental Code (CAREC) was developed to help standardize the process for recycling ELV’s and protect our water, air and soil from the harmful materials contained therein. The Code was developed by The Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) for the Retire Your Ride program to provide participating recyclers with the most relevant and up-to-date tools and information for the environmentally sound management of ELVs. Although Retire Your Ride ended on March 31, 2011, the Code is here to stay.

To convey the legal and mandatory requirements before, during, and after the recycling process and promote best management practices within the industry;
To promote pollution prevention and the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in the vehicle recycling industry to reduce the ecological impact of the automotive sector; and
To ensure that there is a consistent set of practices that are aligned with federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations, as well as with product and industry stewardship programs, where applicable.
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In today’s auto recycling industry , each vehicle commonly goes through a methodical process designed to maximize the amount of material that can be reclaimed and minimize the environmental impact, when proper environmental management is followed. The recycling process happens in three stages:
Pre-treatment: drainage of operating fluids Parts Re-use: dismantling of
parts and components
Recycling of materials
Oil, gas and operating fluids pose a significant risk to the environment. Trained technicians carefully drain all the fluids and store them for re-use or recycling. Special equipment and methods are used in order to prevent any groundwater contamination. An average of 40 litres of fluids are removed from each vehicle and are used, re-used or responsibly disposed of.
Take a look at what happens to each of the parts and substances below:
Oil is drained from all vehicles, tested and re-used for energy recovery in licensed used oil furnaces to heat their buildings, where allowed. Any excess is sent to recycling facilities to be re-processed and re-used.
Anti-freeze and washer fluid
Fluids are separated and resold onsite or sent to reputable recycling facilities to be re-processed and re-used.
The gases from air-conditioning systems are carefully removed by licensed technicians to ensure none of them escape into the atmosphere. The used refrigerant is either re-used onsite or sold to a licensed buyer to be re-used.
Using special equipment, gas tanks are punctured, drained and removed. The fuels are used by the auto recyclers in their own equipment or sold for re-use.
Mercury Switches
There’s enough mercury in one little switch to contaminate a 20-acre lake! Although mercury switches are no longer being installed in new vehicles, there are about 2.7 million switches still in vehicles on the road today. Mercury switches are to be removed and collected, then sent to Summerhill Impact’s Switch Out Program for mercury recovery and storage. Switch Out is a national program designed to remove these switches from end-of-life vehicles and prevent the highly toxic heavy metal from being released into the environment.
The vehicle is sent to the auto recycler’s dismantling area, where parts are removed, inspected and readied for resale. Each part is tagged, coded and entered into a computerized inventory system before it is properly stored. Gas tanks, batteries and tires are also removed and recycled, re-used or disposed of appropriately. Each vehicle is inspected to determine which parts are appropriate for re-use. The vehicle identification number (VIN), mileage, make, model and year of the vehicle are recorded in order to provide accurate inventory data.
Take a look at what happens to each of the materials below:
After testing, batteries that are in good condition are sold to customers for re-use. Others are sent to a licensed recycling facility to be rebuilt or recycled.
Quality tires with lots of tread life are sold for re-use. Others are sent to tire recyclers and processed as tire crumb to make new products or to pave our highways.
Wheels are sold for re-use. In some cases, they are reconditioned. Damaged wheels are reclaimed as scrap metal..
The remaining portion of the vehicle is then crushed and sent to be shredded into fist-sized pieces for recovery. Any valuable metals – approximately 75% of the vehicle - are separated and re-used to make new cars and other consumer products... and the cycle starts again.

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Canadian Auto Recyclers' Environmental Code was developed by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada.

    © Copyright 2012 Automotive Recyclers of Canada