The Auto Recyclers of Canada (ARC) Board of Directors met recently in Banff, Alberta and made an important leadership statement regarding their policy on automotive mercury switches. It was agreed that all ARC associations, and therefore all ARC member auto recyclers, must be able to demonstrate active participation in a mercury sequestration program such as Switch Out in order to join or maintain membership with the association. This statement reflects ARC's commitment to upholding the highest environmental standards.
This new requirement fits with another important decision made that day, which was to require that all ARC members achieve a successful National Code of Practice audit. This audit will include a requirement for all members to demonstrate active participation Switch Out program or equivalent.
These decisions reflect the progressive attitude of all members of the Auto Recyclers of Canada, who feel it is time for everyone involved in processing end-of-life vehicles to move beyond awareness, to systematic and consistent participation in mercury pollution prevention.
The Canadian Steel Producers Association announced powerful new policy changes in their latest Environmental Performance Report, released in the summer of 2010. The report highlights many of the recent environmental successes and initiatives undertaken by the CSPA, and also includes their new policy stance on mercury that is sometimes left behind in scrap metal. This new policy for scrap metal, entitled "Zero Mercury Purchasing Policy" shows the strong commitment of the member companies to preventing mercury emissions. They state that "CSPA supports the principle of utilizing mercury-free scrap steel to the greatest extent practicable, from automotive and non-automotive sources". To ensure that this purchasing policy is executed, each of the CSPA member companies will now require that all steel mill scrap that is supplied to them is mercury-free. This move demonstrates their deep commitment to environmental performance.
This policy also supports the automotive recyclers and dismantlers from across Canada who have been voluntarily recovering mercury switches from end-of-life-vehicles for the last decade. Since CSPA member companies will now require suppliers to have programs in place to identify, remove, track and properly dispose of sources of mercury, and may audit to ensure that this is the case, there will effectively be a leveling of the proverbial playing field. In other words, businesses that have not voluntarily pulled mercury switches will need to rise to a higher level of environmental achievement in terms of automotive de-polluting, if they haven't yet done so. Failing to do so could affect their ability to stay in business.
This is an excellent example of how markets can drive environmental change for the better. Driving the market towards sustainability is in fact part of Scout Environmental's goals, so this initiative is a particularly good fit between the funders and managers of Switch Out.
Switch Out hopes that the CSPA's new policy will drive new program registration. Potential registrants should be aware that the Switch Out program remains completely free of cost to participants, moreover, participation is easy.
For more information on the CSPA's "Zero Mercury Purchasing Policy" please see www.canadiansteel.ca