• Hank's Auto Wreckers in the Woolwich Observer September 2010,

    Submitted On February 24th, 2012

    Regulations a key part in scrapping

    Steve Fletcher believes that the national code of practice developed for Retire Your Ride will eventually become an industry standard; if you want to handle scrap cars, you’ll be required to follow certain standards. In the meantime, membership in OARA isn’t required to be in the scrapping business, and OARA can’t tell non-members how to run their businesses.

    “Right now there’s not a lot of great oversight and that’s why we have an industry where cars can flow the way the lowest common denominator and the highest amount of dollars can encourage,” he said. “If you don’t have the properly regulated industry that’s processing the vehicles, you end up with a legitimate business saying ‘I can pay $50 for the vehicle because I have to do all these things to it and record it’ and the unlicensed backyarder can say ‘I’ll pay $200 for that because I don’t worry about ozone, I don’t worry about oil, I don’t worry about mercury, I don’t worry about records.’”

    Where self-regulation stops, environmental legislation takes over. The next big driver of change to Ontario’s scrapping industry will be updates to the province’s Waste Diversion Act. Two years ago, the government launched a review of the 2002 act, a process that is ongoing. One concept the government is studying is extended producer responsibility, which ties the manufacturer of a product into its recycling or disposal. The idea is to encourage manufacturers to design products so they can be recycled and make sure that the recycling happens upon disposal.

    “The provincial government has sent signals to manufacturers and recyclers that we need to look at EPR because not all vehicles are being handled properly,” Fletcher said.

    Aside from manufacturers and recyclers, there’s another party who’s going to be increasingly asked to take a role in a vehicle’s last rites: the person sitting in the driver’s seat. You may not have given much thought to what happens to your car when it won’t transport you anymore, but you should. A car is the single biggest item the average consumer will discard. Even more than sorting your glass and cans and dropping off your old cell phone, you should share some responsibility for what happens to it.

    “Ultimately there’s a role for the public to play,” Fletcher said. “They don’t really know where their car goes and what happens to it, and if somebody says ‘we’ll pay you top dollar for your vehicle and treat it properly,’ well, what does that mean?”