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AAEF Gears Up for a Circular Future in Auto Recycling

Kuala Lumper was the focus for vehicle recycling at the 13th Asian Automotive Environmental Forum (AAEF), hosted by the Malaysian Automotive Recyclers Association (MAARA) between May 22nd and 25th. The forum’s theme was ‘Moving toward Circular Economy’.


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With delegations from the Australian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Malaysian Associations, the forum those in attendance provided not only the chance to network but also listen to an array of speakers from throughout the region to find out how the importance of auto recycling was being recognized and also what developments are being made. 

MAARA president Mr Robert Kek welcomed the delegates, and opening comments were provided by Ts Nizmar from MARii (Malaysia Automotive Robotics & IoT Institute), and a keynote address was provided by Dr Ching Thoo, General Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability of Malaysia (NRES). All of these speakers spoke of the importance of ATFs and their role as they sought to develop a circular and sustainable approach to transportation for the whole of the country.

The day’s presentations covered an array of topics regarding auto recycling in the region. Puan Mas Tina Abdul Hamid from VTREC focused on vehicle theft in Malaysia and how a concerted effort had reduced vehicle theft by 91% since 2011, helping to decline the cannabilism of vehicles and illegal parts entering the supply chain. 

Prof. Yu Joengsoo from Tohoku University in Japan took a closer look at auto recycling in the country and emphasized how the university was working with various stakeholders towards closed-loop recycling and creating a recycling network to ensure high-quality recycled resources. Prof. Chae Jae Ou from Korea spoke about recycling one million vehicles in Korea, creating a large amount of ASR, and introducing a process using centrifugal force to burn this waste, decreasing costs and operation. 

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Another professor, this time Professor Chen Ming from China, spoke about the country’s transformation in the relationship between humans and nature from the dualistic opposition of conquering and transforming nature to the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. He also mentioned how China was expecting to recycle 10 million vehicles by 2027 and how the country is approaching the task of being as circular as possible. He also introduced the potential for AI to dismantle and recycle EV batteries. Next, David Nolan from the ARAA in Australia took the stage and asked the question what is the role of the automotive recycling business in the ELV circular economy? He then indicated the need for countries to work together, especially in using technology within their inventory systems, to provide better transparency and user experience. 

Mr Larenjit Singh from Proton represented the manufacturers at the forum and provided data on the potential growth of car ownership in Malaysia. This helped the ATFs understand what vehicles will be entering their facilities and when and how the Proton fits into the circular model of auto recycling, especially regarding the direction and strategies of the nation towards transportation. 

Returning to China, Prof Liu Yong Guang provided information on pilot treatment facilities for End of Life Electric Vehicles and the technologies involved. After, the Malaysian National Automotive Policy was again the focus with Ts. Sharulnizam Mohd Sarip, COO of MARii, said that its remanufacturing policy was to increase the need for jobs within the recycling sector as it intended to enforce a circular economy within the sector and by 2025 to have 10 AATFs operating in the country. 

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Attention focused on Japan as Dr. Xiaoyue Liu from Tohoku University looked at the current challenges and potential for developing new sorting technology from ELVS, followed by Davy Saint Germain from Ad Rem, who gave a European perspective on the same topic. 

For the day’s final session, Mr. Atsushi Goto from Kobelco showed the audience demonstrations of their auto dismantlers in operation. After that, Haydn Davies from Auto Recycling World addressed the audience with his thoughts on auto recycling and provided an update on the current European ELV proposals. The day’s final speaker was Mr. Kim Sung Bae from Korea, who provided insight into the current status and strategy of plastic recycling technology and its response to ELV regulations. The audience adjourned only to return later in the evening for a gala dinner. 

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The final day’s presentations began with Ts. Dr. Mohd Radzi Abu Mansor from Malaysia discussed the role of ATFs in recycling and remanufacturing for the circular economy, especially his research with MARRA on the psychosocial analysis of public acceptance of ELV. He also outlined the minimum requirements to qualify as a recognized operator in the country. Next was Tony Kalcina, a TM Forum Ambassador from Australia, who spoke about the opportunities for the automotive recycling industry to think globally, unite, and collaborate to be a global platform that closes the circularity loop with OEMs. 

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After country reports were in order with Dr Sosho Kitajima from JARA, who looked at CO2 reduction in Japan and with his research estimated based on the traffic accident situation in Malaysia, it was calculated that if used parts were used in the same way as in Japan a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 10, 000 tons per year could be achieved. Then, Mr. Jeong Howon from the Korean Automotive Recycling Association (KARA) provided his report on auto recycling in the country, talked in depth about the management system of ELV EV batteries in Korea, and highlighted the role of the government and the support required. 

David Nolan returned to the stage and looked at the changing economics of the auto recycling sector in Australia, combined with the changing role of technology and the need for environmental compliance. The final speaker was Ms. Zhang Ying from the newly formed Chinese Association (CARIDC), outlining how vehicle recycling has accelerated in the country, with 1400 ELV companies covering 97% of the country and from the end of 2024, subsidies will be provided to encourage the correct the legal scrapping of old vehicles through enforced regulation. Her closing remarks were, ‘Scrapped vehicle recycling and dismantling industry needs to be positioned in conjunction with the integrity of the automotive industry chain and can only produce a matrix from a systematic perspective. The scrapped vehicle industry links the past and future, linking products and resources, which are both the end and the sources. The automotive recycling system is very important for the entire industry chain. 

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The final act of the 13th AAEF was a signing ceremony between MAARA and CARIDC to work more closely together, and then a following ceremony between all six members of the AAEF declaring to share technology and work in conjunction with each other, with the final announcement being that the 14th AAEF will be held in Shanghai in 2025.

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MAARA, JARA, KARA, ARAA, AARTI and CARIDC sign the declaration