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Vehicle Recyclers call on WTO to find solution to unblock electronic security features on vehicle parts

Dismantlers are calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to pursue legal solutions and best-practice recommendations that eliminate the harmful practices of vehicle and components manufacturers to electronically block the re-use of parts.


Vehicle Recyclers call on WTO to find solution to unblock electronic security features on vehicle parts feat

A proposal has been composed by FORS Association from Poland in cooperation with several other vehicle recycling associations from around the world (see signatories below), to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to highlight the problems vehicle recyclers face when it comes to electronic security features on vehicles and how if dismantlers had access to unlock these features, there would be the possibility to re-use more parts.

Signatories include:

  • AAD (Andalusian Association of Dismantlers – Spain)
  • ABCAR (Associacao Brasileira De Reciclagem Automotiva – Brazil)
  • ARA (Automotive Recyclers Association – the USA)
  • ARC (Automotive Recyclers of Canada – Canada)
  • BVSF (British Vehicle Salvage Federation – the UK)
  • EGARA (European Group of Automotive Recycling Associations – Europe)
  • FORS (Polish Car Recyclers Association)
  • JARA (Japan Automotive Recyclers Alliance – Japan)
  • MUVATA (Malaysia Used Vehicle Autoparts Traders Association – Malaysia)
  • Suomen Autopurkamoliitto r.y. (Finland’s Dismantlers Federation – Finland)
  • VRA (Vehicle Recyclers Association – the UK)

The letter is calling for the WTO to look at legal solutions to eliminate ‘harmful practices of vehicle and component manufacturers to electronically block the re-use of parts.

Vehicle recyclers are appealing that consumers and car repair operations can have electronic security unblocked free of charge so that removed parts can be used in other vehicles.

More and more vehicles contain parts supported by electronic systems, and the vehicle recycler removes reusable parts once the vehicle enters the ATF, but often a part cannot be reused due to the manufacturer’s electronic lock. Therefore, without the manufacturer’s consent, such a part cannot be reused.

Vehicle recyclers are aware that without such security, it can be open to abuse from theft and illegal operators. Still, it does pose a problem to legal operators as this prevents them from reusing parts.

The letter states that vehicle recyclers “strongly believe that to protect the environment and promote the safe re-use of spare parts, such practices should be eliminated. Currently, without a manufacturer’s consent, electronically encrypted spare parts cannot be reused. Taking into account the formal reasons why manufacturers have introduced such measures, these protections effectively prevent legally operating Authorised Treatment Facilities from re-using such parts (manufacturers thus become monopolists in providing any and all services related to the re-use of such spare parts). In addition to creating unnecessary waste, such practices effectively restrict the consumers’ access to low-cost parts.”

The recycler’s collective formal position can be summed up in a simple recommendation of supporting unrestricted access to free disassembly of security features with a provision that such parts can only be reused if their origin is properly documented (the document issued by a legal entity should include the VIN of the original vehicle).

This solution will have the following positive outcomes:

  • mitigate the risk of grey-market practices,
  • improve the reuse of recyclable spare parts from Authorised Treatment Facilities,
  • cost benefits for consumers, who will have easy access to low-cost parts,
  • environmental impact (reduced production requirements for new spare parts).

They hope that the WTO will undertake actions that will benefit both consumers (access to parts) and companies that prepare them for reuse, in compliance with the existing regulations.

Visit the FORS Association (Polish Automotive Recyclers Association) at


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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