News, Trends & Reports from the Automotive Recyclers Association

Jul 1, 2020 | Industry

ARA Congratulates SpaceX on Successful Commercial Space Launch; Applauds Commitment to Reutilization

ARA has congratulated SpaceX on its historic May 30th mission that successfully launched two NASA astronauts into space, drawing parallels between the company’s commitment to reutilization to that of the automotive recycling industry. The launch was the first time a private company has sent astronauts into orbit.

“This is a proud moment for the American people,” said ARA President, Scott Robertson, “as well as for the professional automotive recycling industry. I commend SpaceX in the reutilization of rocket boosters for interplanetary transit and on the development of reusable rocket systems – a focus on recyclability that is proven to dramatically reduce costs and enable the United States to compete in space exploration.” Since 2017 the aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company has launched multiple attempts into space using recycled, gently used rockets. “Our profession is built upon that same focus of recycling genuine original equipment manufacturer (OEM) automotive parts to bring cost savings to consumers and keep vehicles on the road.”

ARA believes that vehicle manufacturers should emulate SpaceX in promoting the reutilization of their product to reduce costs by supporting the reutilization of recycled parts in vehicle repairs. Single-use manufacturing is self-serving, intentionally forcing consumers to overspend on repairs to their vehicle. Presently OEM position statements and procedures only allow for new OEM manufactured parts in vehicle repairs. “If we can reuse parts to launch man into space, we can surely reuse parts to repair our vehicles,” emphasized Robertson.

“For decades, our members and their employees have efficiently removed and reutilized genuine OEM automotive parts,” said ARA Executive Director, Sandy Blalock. “The value that safe, reliable, recycled OEM parts have in today’s automotive marketplace has never truly been recognized – in large part due to misinformation campaigns by the automobile manufacturers. Recycled original equipment automotive parts are manufactured by the OEMs and built to meet their requirements for fit, finish, durability, reliability, and safety. To see the investment that SpaceX has made in recycling their aerospace products and how proud the company is to tout the cost-savings and other advantages of using recycled products is to be applauded.”

ARA Submits Comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on Stormwater Permitting

On June 1, 2020, ARA submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on their draft general permit for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity. The stormwater permitting program began in 1992 and requires automotive recyclers to have a stormwater permit that will be renewed every five years. After each five-year period, the EPA will reauthorize and review the permitting guidelines and propose a new rule that incorporates any changes.

This year, the EPA has taken unprecedented steps to strengthen the permitting requirements. For the past 30 years, the EPA has only made incremental changes to the permitting requirements. However, the EPA was recently sued for not properly exercising their statutory authority, which caused the EPA to take dramatic action in strengthening the existing permit requirements.

After reviewing the EPA’s proposed stormwater permit, ARA identified two main issues:

(1) that the proposed stormwater permit displayed a clear lack of understanding for the automotive recycling industry; and

(2) that the EPA had appeared to overstep its authority by addressing issues not relevant to stormwater runoff and pollutants.

Automotive recyclers in every state should be aware (in the likelihood that the final EPA stormwater permit requirements will be stricter than they have in years past) that they will likely be impacted by the new permit changes. Recyclers in every state will most likely be impacted because each state will have to use the new EPA rules as a baseline for compliance.

To address the concerns of the automotive recycling industry as they pertain to the EPA’s stormwater permit, ARA continues to participate in the Federal Water Quality Coalition – a group of industrial companies and trade associations directly affected by regulatory requirements imposed under the Clean Water Act. While working with this group, ARA was able to represent the interests of the automotive recycling community. The Federal Water Quality Coalition, on behalf of its members, submitted comments addressing issues with the proposed EPA stormwater permit requirements.

Independent of working with the Federal Water Quality Coalition on this issue, ARA also worked with groups such as the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. and the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program. While ARA worked with several groups and industries, ARA submitted comments independently on behalf of its membership and the automotive recycling industry.

Ford Motor Company’s Termination of Lighting and Bumper Core Program Highlights Lack of Commitment to Recycling

Ford Motor Company terminated its lighting and bumper fascia core recovery program on June 1st, a move that ARA responded to and characterized as a lack of commitment to recycling. Ford stated that it was ending the core recovery program, which has been in place for several years, due to the administrative burden it created for dealers and collision repairers.

“ARA is concerned about the environmental impact that the termination of this core program will have, however, we are confident that the replacement parts market will find a solution to appropriately recovering and recycling these components,” said ARA Executive Director, Sandy Blalock, in a press release.

A 2012 statement attributed to Ford Recycling and Remanufacturing Manager, Kim Goering, promoted that the program demonstrated the automaker’s commitment to doing “whatever we can to extend the life of these components. Even more important, however, is that Ford strongly believes it’s just the right thing to do from an environmental perspective.” That same statement acknowledged a desire by the automaker to cut into the remanufacturing sector of the aftermarket, a motive that ARA maintains is just one example of the company’s efforts to stifle competition and raise the cost of repairs.

“It’s clear that over the past several years, Ford and other auto manufacturers have taken aggressive steps to push the automotive recycling as well as remanufacturing and aftermarket industries out of the market,” said ARA President, Scott Robertson. “I find it highly suspect how in 2012, Ford can publicly acknowledge that their original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts still have a lot of life left, yet they’ve taken every position to the contrary when it comes to the recycled, genuine OEM parts sold by our members. The professional automotive recycling industry is the true champion of recycling here, and I think Ford’s termination of this program shows that.”

Registration Now Open for ARA’s 77th Annual Convention & Exposition

ARA announced on June 8 the opening of registration for the 77th Annual Convention and Exposition taking place in Reno, Nevada on November 11-14. The registration launch follows the Association’s announcement that retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman will provide the meeting’s Keynote Address.

“We fully realize that this year’s Annual Convention will not look like our previous annual gatherings,” said ARA Executive Director, Sandy Blalock. “But we are committed to providing the critical, industry-specific educational content that our membership needs while at the same time, working diligently behind the scenes to ensure a safe and positive experience for all attendees.”

The 77th Annual Convention will take place at the Peppermill Reno Hotel Resort and Casino.

“ARA is coordinating with staff at the Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken to address concerns related to COVID-19. This includes temperature checks, physical distancing, face coverings, and hand sanitizing stations,” said ARA President Scott Robertson. “This will be a safe, high-quality educational experience that will empower auto recyclers with the skills and mindsets to succeed during these challenging times.”

For more details on the convention agenda or to register, please visit  

ARA Welcomes Our Newest Members!

Importapart, LLC

Keystone Alliance Insurance Services

North Smithfield Auto Recycling

Select Auto Parts & Sales, Inc.

Spartan Autoworx, LLC

WBI Midway Automotive LLC

Yes Unlimited LLC DBA-Nissan Unlimited/DBA-OEM Unlimited

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