French Decree Implements EU Directives On Vehicle Scrapping, Electronic Waste

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PARIS--France's Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transportation, and Housing Feb. 6 published a decree amending the country's environmental regulations to comply with EU laws on the scrapping of end-of-life vehicles and the disposal of electric and electronic waste.

In April 2010, the EU Court of Justice ordered France to implement EU Directive 2000/53/EC on the dismantling and recycling of end-of-life vehicles, after the country had missed the deadline to do so.

The French decree (No. 2011-153) changes the environmental code to comply with the court's ruling, in particular by requiring manufacturers to implement a system in which certified car-scrapping centers must take end-of-life vehicles from owners at no charge.

It also requires manufacturers, scrapping centers, and other parties to achieve a collective 85 percent recycling or reuse rate for these vehicles by 2015, not counting certain types of vehicles listed in an annex.

According to France's Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), about 1.5 million cars usually go out of use yearly in the country. This number jumped to about 2 million in 2009, spurred by a so-called junkyard bonus and bonuses for purchases of vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions (33 INER 463, 5/12/10).

Reduce Use of Dangerous Substances.

To meet the recycling target, the decree requires automakers to design vehicles that are easier to disassemble and recycle, contain lower amounts of dangerous substances, and use more recycled materials. As an incentive to comply, it requires manufacturers to pick up at least part of the tab for scrapping centers.

It also requires scrapping centers to remove polluting components and reusable parts before handing vehicles over to certified crusher/shredders that cull various materials for recycling.

A new authority will monitor the cost of operating the centers and will be able to initiate a process to financially compensate automakers if they are losing money on them, according to the decree.

The decree changes the procedure for canceling the registration of an end-of-life vehicle, requiring scrapping centers to give owners certificates that the vehicle has been destroyed.

The decree took effect immediately, except for the requirement for certificate that a vehicle has been destroyed, which takes effect March 31.

Measures on Waste Electronics.

The decree also changes France's regulation on waste from electric and electronic devices (WEEE) to comply with EU Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 on the classification, labeling, and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures (CLP).

The CLP regulation introduced the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) into EU law. EU Directive 2008/112/EC adapted a number of EU laws to the CLP regulation, including the 2002 EU WEEE directive (2002/96/EC). The French decree applies these changes to French law on WEEE.

By Rick Mitchell

Text of the decree on end-of-life vehicles and electric and electronic waste is available, in French, at

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