More than 50 million passenger cars and light duty vehicles are registered in Germany. This number is constantly changing as new and used vehicles are registered or old ones are deregistered or decommissioned. Around nine million passenger cars and light duty vehicles are decommissioned every year. Thereof approximately three million motor vehicles are permanently deregistered annually. However, not all of these are ELVs (that is waste) but used vehicles (that is non-waste), because a large share is exported regularly to other EU member states and is registered there. Another share of used vehicles is exported to non-EU countries. About 500,000 of the three million motor vehicles that are permanently deregistered annually are ELVs, in other words, waste. Only in 2009, the number of ELVs was four times higher than usual because consumers could apply for an Environmental Premium.
The environmentally sound disposal (that is the proper and safe recovery and disposal compatible with public welfare) of ELVs is important because ELVs contain
- recyclable materials (for example steel and copper) which have to be reintroduced into the materials cycle for the purpose of protection of natural resources, but also
- materials that are harmful to the environment (for example heavy metals). ELVs are hazardous waste.
The environmentally sound disposal of ELVs is stipulated in the End-of-life Vehicle Ordinance in Germany. An environmentally sound disposal which guarantees the protection of the environment can only be ensured by treating ELVs in line with the regulations of this ordinance.