Waste Reduction Week: Monday – Circular Economy

AARDA - An organization that promotes the movement towards a Circular Economy in Alberta

The Alberta Automotive Recyclers and Dismantlers Association (AARDA) is a group of more than fifty Alberta businesses, committed to leading the way in the car industry in terms of environmentally responsible recycling practices, and maintaining awareness of industry trends, issues and opportunities.

When a vehicle is dismantled, there are many valuable parts to be reused and/or recycled, as well as many hazardous materials that must be removed. Ken Sorensen, Executive Director for AARDA, indicated that auto recyclers in Alberta should all conduct the Canadian Auto Recyclers’ Environmental Code (CAREC) audit, to make sure they meet environmental standards. Recyclers that wish to be a member of AARDA must pass the CAREC audit, Sorensen said; “we give yards two years to learn about it and upgrade their facility and meet the standards. If they don’t meet the standards they can no longer be a member of AARDA.  For example, our members must remove all the mercury switches out of dismantled vehicles, and if you consider there’s 10s of thousands of switches taken out in Alberta each year, that adds up to quite an amount of Mercury that you don’t want to go into the soil.”

The CAREC audit proposes three main goals:

  • convey the legal and mandatory requirements before, during, and after the recycling process and promote best management practices within the industry;
  • promote the pollution prevention and the 3Rs in the vehicle recovery industry to reduce the ecological impact of the automotive sector; and
  • ensure that there is a consistent set of practices that are consistent with federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations and promotes industry stewardship.

AARDA Board of Directors
Back row left to right: Terry Carter, Randy Montgomery, Steve Cox, Ron Campbell
Front Row left to right: Dave Cohen, Raelene Day, Wendy Quick, Sarah Brophy, Kelly Popow

The success of AARDA in promoting a Circular Economy not only has to do with their commitment in encouraging the use of recycled vehicle parts, but also ensuring that there is a consistent set of practices throughout Alberta vehicle recovery that prevents waste from landfill and reduces harmful emissions. According to Sorensen, “the Circular Economy involves reducing waste and reusing as much as you can, and that’s what the auto recyclers are all about… We take the vehicle apart, crush it, and send it to a shredder, then it gets re-processed. We take absolutely every aspect we can of that vehicle to reuse it. Our success is that commitment to the environment and professionalism of each member wanting to demonstrate they are a professional organization and not a junk yard”.

To achieve the ambitious goals of the Circular Economy, it is essential to consider government policies to get proper recognition for what an auto recycler should be in Alberta, and have all abandoned vehicles and non-repairable vehicles only sold to licensed recyclers. Sorensen said, “our goals for the next 5 years are to work with government to bringing on respectability and continuity to vehicle dismantlers, and try to educate the public on why they should deal with certified auto recyclers only.”

To find out more, contact Ken Sorensen, Executive Director, AARDA, at 403-230-8772 or admin@aarda.com