Leson 7 – WEEE Management and the Circular Economy

7Waste management in the automotive industry involves the recycling and reintroduction of some waste (metal, oils, solvents, batteries, plastic and glass). Recycling these materials helps economic operators to address environmental concerns and solve the problem of resource depletion.

For this it is important to ensure a waste collection infrastructure that could also ensure a sustainable market for secondary raw materials. Prompt and effective measures in this regard would have a direct impact on the management of waste, including electrical and electronic waste from end-of-life vehicles, their repair and reuse, the recovery and recycling of the resources contained therein, as well as the reduction of their impact on the environment and the impact on human health.

In order to obtain quality management, each company, OEM or workplace must present a Waste Management Plan that will have an integrated Waste Generation Prevention Program in accordance with GEO 92/2021 art.44(1) for the purpose of prevention and reduction the waste generated by them.

Thus by applying an ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management System in order to ensure continuous environmental performance regarding the prevention and reduction of the environmental footprint and its impact through:

– Optimization of energy consumption and atmospheric emissions;

– Appropriate use of raw materials;

– Reduction at the source and maximization of the value of waste obtained from dismemberment;

– Prevention of soil and groundwater contamination;

– Controlling water consumption and aqueous discharges into the aquatic environment;

– Preventing accidental pollution and reducing sound and olfactory nuisances;

– Keeping the chemical risk under control;

– Implementation of optimal waste transport solutions, etc.

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption that involves sharing, renting, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. Thus, the life cycle of the products is extended.

If the auto remanufacturing business was exploited to its true potential, and did not depend on certain factors such as: the collection process and reverse logistics, the condition of the end-of-life vehicle, the additional cost of transport to the authorized service and the resources required until the disassembly and recovery of parts that can still be reused, then the vehicle industry through the modular redesign of components would increase the durability of products which produces a sharp increase in recyclable materials and products, thus leading to the protection of the environment. But, in order to exploit this activity to the maximum, some shortcomings were identified, such as: the need for a continuous qualification of the staff and design engineers, the realization of an effective basic management, for the implementation of efficient and effective remanufacturing activities both in the light vehicle industry as well as in the heavy vehicle industry which must be supported by appropriate expertise, methods and tools.

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