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Environment

End-of-Life Vehicles

EU rules aim to make the dismantling and recycling of end-of-life vehicles more environmentally friendly.

Overview

Every year, millions of vehicles in Europe reach the end of their life. When end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are not properly managed, they can cause environmental problems and the European economy loses millions of tonnes of materials.

Background

The Directive on end-of-life vehicles (ELV Directive) set clear targets for ELVs and their components. It also prohibits the use of hazardous substances when manufacturing new vehicles (especially lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium) except in defined exemptions when there are no adequate alternatives. The exemptions are listed in annex II of the Directive.

Since this Directive was introduced, several amendments have been made (for more information, see amendments below). The EU has also introduced several related rules such as the Directive on the type-approval of motor vehicles regarding their reusability, recyclability and recoverability.  

Objectives

The ELV Directive sets clear targets for their reuse, recycling and recovery and aims to

  • prevent and limit waste from end-of-life vehicles and their components
  • improve the environmental performance of all economic operators involved in the life-cycle of vehicles

Implementation

Monitoring

The EU has rules on monitoring the targets of the ELV Directive for reuse/recovery and reuse/recycling.

Member States must provide the required data on an annual basis, within 18 months of the end of the relevant year (e.g. by 30 June 2022 for the year 2020). See relevant data on EUROSTAT.

Review

The Commission is currently performing a joint review of the Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles and its corresponding Directive 2005/64/EC on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their reusability, recyclability and recoverability. The Commission plans to present a legislative proposal in Spring 2023.

  • 20 July - 26 October 2021: The open public consultation for the Impact Assessment  on the joint review was completed. The factual summary of the consultation feedback is provided in EUSurvey with a more detailed overview available in a dedicated annex
  • March 2021:Evaluation of the ELV Directive published
  • January 2021: launch of the Impact Assessment of the ELV Directive

Contact: Commission – DG ENV: env-elv@ec.europa.eu; Consultants assisting the Commission in the Impact Assessment: Oeko-Institut e.V (ELV-Directive-Revision@oeko.de); Joint Research Centre for the study on recycled plastics content: JRC-plastics-in-vehicles@ec.europa.eu

Stakeholders’ consultation to be announced.

Previously, the ELV Directive was evaluated in 2014.

Amendments

Directive 2000/53/EU on end-of-life vehicles restricts the use of certain hazardous substances (lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and cadmium) in vehicles put on the market after 1 July 2003. Possible exemptions for the use of these substances are set out in Annex II. It is regularly adapted to scientific and technical progress by the Commission according to Article 4(2)(b) of the Directive in order to address when the use of the restricted substances reflected in the exemptions has become avoidable or whether the scope of the exemptions can be narrowed.

10 March 2023, a DELEGATED DIRECTIVE (EU) 2023/544 amending Directive 2000/53/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the exemptions for the use of lead in aluminium alloys for machining purposes, in copper alloys and in certain batteries was published in the Official Journal.

Following the assessment based on scientific and technical progress, it was concluded:

  • For exemption 2(c)(i): "Aluminium alloys for machining purposes with a lead content up to 0,4 % by weight”, the use of lead is unavoidable. Technical progress demonstrates that the use of lead is expected to be phased out by end of 2027. Therefore, the use of lead is prolonged and the exemption will be removed as of 1 January 2028;
  • for exemption 3: "Copper alloys containing up to 4 % lead by weight”, the use of lead remains unavoidable. Therefore, the use of lead is prolonged with a new review date in 2025;
  • for exemption 5(b): "Lead in batteries for battery applications not included in entry 5(a)", the use of lead can be avoided only for some applications. It is therefore decided to split the exemptions into two separate entries, as follows:
    • 5(b)(i) to continue the exemption to lead in batteries used in 12 V applications with a new review date in 2025.
    • 5(b)(ii) to continue the exemption to lead in batteries in all other applications such as 24V and 48V applications until the end of 2023. Later use of lead in batteries in 24 V applications will be allowed only in special purpose vehicles as defined in Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 2018/858 of the European Parliament and of the Council with a review date in 2025.

The Delegated Directive enters into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Additional information on adaptations to Annex II of Directive 2000/53/EC:

Implementation reports

Commission implementation reports are based on information provided by Member States pursuant to Commission Decision 2001/753/EC concerning a questionnaire for Member States reports on the implementation of the ELV Directive.

Compliance Promotion Initiative

The Compliance Promotion Initiative(2017) assessed the implementation of the ELV Directive. It identified measures to improve certain aspects, particularly for ELVs of unknown whereabouts.

 

Timeline

Key dates related to EU policy on end-of-life vehicles

  1. 2023
    Commission’s proposal for the Review of the ELV Directive
  2. 20 July - 26 October 2021
    Public consultation on the revision of EU rules on end-of-life vehicles
  3. 16 March 2021
    Evaluation of the ELV Directive published
  4. 22 October-19 November 2020
    Roadmap for the Impact Assessment of the ELV Directive published
  5. 15 September - 8 December 2020
    Stakeholder consultation on the renewal of three exemptions

    For more information visit https://elv.biois.eu/

  6. 18 September 2000
    Directive on end-of-life vehicles enters into force

Publications

Related links

Main law: Directive on end-of-life vehicles

Entry into force: 18 September 2000

Related topics: Circular economyWaste and recycling

Related strategies: Circular economy action plan

Related Commission priorities: European Green Deal

Contact

For questions about EU environmental policy, please contact Europe Direct.

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