Understanding the ELV Directive

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We seem to spend a lot of time talking about EU directives as they apply to environmental compliance and mechanical engineering. Whilst we realize that these are not the most exciting of topics we do hope our short summary articles are useful and at least raise awareness of these important issues.

Today we are looking at the ELV directive and ELV compliance. These fit roughly into the scope of the RoHS directive and WEEE compliance directives but they cover End-of-Life Vehicles. Basically the wording says that the End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive 2000/53/EC requires that certain automotive products and parts be free (except for possible trace impurities) of mercury, cadmium and lead as of the 1st of July, 2003.

There is an exception in that Lead can still be used as an alloying additive in copper, steel and aluminum and in solders.

The ELV directive also sets recovery targets for the recycling of vehicles and components within the vehicles and strongly encourages designers, mechanical engineers and manufacturers to design their products with the ideas of later reuse or recycling in mind. They also ask that you provide dismantling and treatment instructions to people who may be involved in the dismantling and recycling operations to help them.

If you think that you may be designing or building products that will be covered by the ELV directive then it is vital that you consult an expert on this issue who will be able to advise you about your actual duty of care in testing, and all of the paperwork and documentation that you will require to be properly ELV compliant.

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