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ATF Conference Roars into Action: Key Takeaways for the Vehicle Recycling Industry

The highly anticipated ATF Professional Vehicle Recycling Conference roared into action on May 9th at the British Motor Museum’s Sky Suite, Warwickshire, UK. This sell-out event brought together delegates from all corners of the vehicle recycling industry for a day of thought-provoking presentations, insightful discussions, and unparalleled networking opportunities.


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Sponsored by industry leaders, including SYNETIQ, its headline sponsor, as well as Lithium Battery Recycling SolutionsCombiliftB-PartsPowerhandGreen Car DepollutionSolera—Hollander, and Eladene Systems, the conference kicked off with opening remarks from Haydn Davies, Director of ATF Professional. He also announced the upcoming ATF Professional Vehicle Recycling Awards on November 28th at the RAF Museum, Cosford.

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The morning sessions delved into the human element of the industry. Mike Monoghan from Auto-Motivate started with a presentation on the importance of investing in people to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Chris Clark from Morgan Sindall Group followed him by exploring the connection between safety, psychology, and employee well-being.

Later in the morning, Adam Murray, Head of Technical for Engineers at Solus, a subsidiary of Aviva, and well-respected industry expert, discussed his topic – Reclaimed parts – what’s next? The conversation centered around the challenges and opportunities in implementing standards and certification in the automotive industry. Adam highlighted the importance of compliance with FCA regulations while sharing his experience in developing a standard for reclaimed paths. He also emphasised the need for a collaborative approach to implementing standards. The next speaker, David Punter, President of the Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors (IAEA), discussed the significance of standardisation and accreditation in the industry and emphasised the importance of professional certification. He also highlighted the complexities of sustainable vehicle manufacturing and recycling. And his examples of salvage categorisation drew murmurs from the audience. Rounding out the morning session was Wayne Mason Drust from the National Body Repair Association (NBRA), who discussed the challenges and opportunities in the automotive accident repair and vehicle recycling industries, including compliance, capacity, and market segmentation.


After a refreshing lunch, where delegates were able to go onto the balcony due to the fantastic weather, the spotlight shifted to electric vehicles (EVs). Elena Wrelton and Lee Jane Eastwood presented “Electric Loops,” a project by ELVES, the Irish end-of-life vehicle compliance scheme, which aims to show the reuse and recycling potential of electric vehicles (EVs). They told the audience that in Ireland, over the course of twelve months, they meticulously collected data, scrutinising various facets of EV components to ascertain their worth. Their findings revealed valuable insights into parts with significant resale and remanufacturing potential, notably high-voltage batteries and charging cables. Their investigation results, which are now available for download, stand as a testament to the depth of their research and its implications for policymakers and industry players. 

Before the afternoon break, delegates heard from Mark Pickles, Group Parts & Service Director for Stellantis UK, detailed remanufacturing, repair, recycling, and reuse strategies, projecting substantial growth by 2030. He highlighted initiatives like Retrofit and end-of-life vehicle dismantling partnerships, underscoring Stellantis’ focus on designing cars for recyclability and sustainability. In response to queries about greenwashing, he emphasised sincere commitment, citing financial opportunities, customer retention, and industry demands. Finally, he highlighted ambitious carbon neutrality goals and lessons learned from supply chain challenges, demonstrating genuine dedication to sustainable practices.

In the first of the final two sessions of the day, delegates were treated to a lively presentation by Mike Kunkel, an industry expert from Profit Team Consulting, who gave up his time to come over from the US. He discussed the reputation of the auto salvage industry and shared some personal anecdotes about his experiences in the field. He emphasised the importance of protecting the industry’s livelihood in changing regulations and market dynamics. He touched on various aspects of sales management, including protecting the customer, establishing goals, and overcoming negativity. He also discussed the challenges and opportunities within the industry, including electronic procurement and core components, and highlighted the need for effective sales meetings and ongoing support for salespeople. Overall, he stressed the importance of staying focused on the fundamentals and aiming for continuous improvement to succeed in the auto salvage business.

The day’s final speaker was Eric Downer, representing Canadian-based company Cyclic Materials. He introduced the company’s mission to create a circular supply chain for rare earth elements, which is crucial for clean tech like electric vehicles and electronics. He explained the critical need for recycling rare earths due to China’s dominance in the supply chain. He shared information on how rare earth shortages affected defence programmes and emphasised the importance of keeping these resources local. He also outlined Secret Cyclic Materials’ approach to recycling magnets, including a two-step process involving shredding and hydrometallurgy. Eric emphasised their commitment to preventing landfill waste and their partnerships with magnet manufacturers, OEMs, and recyclers. Eric announced the company’s expansion plans into Europe and the UK ahead of schedule due to successful partnerships and investments. He concluded by highlighting the financial value of recycling components containing magnets and invited questions from the audience, addressing concerns about the environmental impact of traditional rare earth extraction methods.

The conference fostered active participation, with delegates posing insightful questions to the speakers throughout the sessions. Haydn Davies closed the event with a heartfelt thank you to the speakers, delegates, and sponsors. After the event, he remarked:

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L-R Sian Courtney and Haydn Davies from ATF Professional

“The energy and engagement at this year’s conference were truly inspiring. It’s clear that collaboration across the industry is key to navigating the future of vehicle recycling.”

“From mindset to rare earth elements, today’s discussions showcased the exciting advancements and crucial considerations shaping our industry. We’re all in this together, and I’m confident that by working together, we can ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for vehicle recycling.”

“I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to all the speakers who shared their expertise, the delegates for their engagement, and our sponsors for their invaluable support. Together, we’ve made this year’s ATF Professional Vehicle Recycling Conference a resounding success.”

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The views and opinions expressed on ATF Professional are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the editor, publisher or staff of ATF Professional.


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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.

e2e awards logo

e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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