Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling

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Exporting – sustainable re-use of used car parts

Vladimir Boltach, UK and Europe Operations Director at Autoparts, provides ATF Professional with his thoughts on how used car part export can positively impact our planet and improve the sustainability of resource consumption.


Exporting – sustainable re-use of used car parts VB
Vladimir Boltach

In the wake of COP26 summit ‘2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference’, it becomes ever so relevant for governments, businesses and people around the globe to work together in tackling climate change. Exporting – sustainable re-use of used car parts COPEveryone has to play a part for the agreements to be taken to have a desirable impact on slashing global emissions to “net zero” by mid-century and to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The question is, how can the exporting of used car parts have a positive impact and improve the sustainability of resource consumption on our planet? 

\I have been part of the business, Autoparts, which deals in exporting used car parts from the UK and other countries around Europe and the globe for over 14 years now. As an exporter of used car parts, my aim is to ensure that people have an alternative route when sourcing car parts for their vehicles when repairs are required. Used car parts provide a more sustainable and economical option to the new ones and are readily available. We work closely with our suppliers to maintain the high standards we set for used car parts we buy for export. We share feedback and learn from each other on how to improve the range, quality and quantity of the orders continuously placed.

In the early days, the perception of the used car parts domestically and internationally being “green” (good for the environment) wasn’t as obvious as it is rapidly becoming now. When I was doing my WAMITAB qualifications last year (I’m now fully qualified in Waste and Resource Management – End of Live Vehicles and Metal Recycling), I came across the Waste Hierarchy Framework which ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment with prevention at the top of it and disposal placed at the bottom by being the least favourable. Re-use is the second-best option on that tree of hierarchy which fits well with giving the used car parts a second life when repairing vehicles.

Exporting – sustainable re-use of used car parts WH

With an ever-growing demand for natural resources, re-using used car parts is the obvious choice. Even more so with the current shortages of microchips supply in the automotive industry where Czech automobile manufacturer Skoda Auto had to halt production for two weeks in October because of it.

Exporting – sustainable re-use of used car parts p two

So, what are the benefits of exporting used car parts?

  • Diversification. Fulfilling the demand for used car parts not needed in the domestic market. Helping developed nations to preserve their natural resources by sourcing readily available used car parts in your own market.
  • Increasing sales revenue. Selling used cars parts can provide a higher monetary return rather than sending a whole vehicle for recycling. This also ensures that business complies with the requirement set in the Waste Hierarchy Framework.
  • Reducing waste and protecting the environment. Exporting used car parts will ensure they do not go to landfill. 
  • Preserving natural resources and ensuring sustainability. Re-using used car parts ensures that fewer resources are used to manufacture new car parts required if such used car parts are not available on the market. Such production will require more resources and energy, which leads to an increase in emissions (CO2). Energy will be used when manufacturing new car parts and when moving raw materials to be used in the production, packaging, storing, delivering new car parts to the stores, etc.
  • Extended warranty. The warranty period for used car parts is improving, giving customers confidence in the quality of parts supplied. Some businesses refurbish used car parts and offer even better warranty options than what is offered by the suppliers of identical new car parts (the warranty for refurbished used car parts can go up to 5 years in some instances instead of a 2-year warranty offered by the new parts suppliers!).

Understandably, every vehicle has its own shelf life and at some point will have to be recycled to source raw materials which can be used in the production of new car parts or a new car; a greener alternative to the existing fleet of vehicles on the UK roads and other countries. Being a developed nation, the UK has the advantage of introducing electric vehicles at a higher pace than less developed nations. 

Therefore, the demand for used car parts of older vehicles may diminish here but can still be high in other countries in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. Developing and establishing export cooperation networks can be crucial for businesses in the UK automotive and recycling industry when maximising sales of used car parts and increasing value for the shareholders. The bottom line is fundamental to the survival and prosperity of every company, but more and more emphasis is placed on businesses to be environmentally conscious. Reliable networks can be developed to create a sustainable future for us all by working together. Every small step can lead to big changes.

Should you have any more interest in exploring opportunities of exporting, you can contact Vladimir via his LinkedIn page.

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