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Being more than an ATF

Catherine Lenaerts, Managing Director of Febelauto and CEO of Watt4ever, gives us a brief overview of the Belgian auto recycling industry with a focus on, how, in her opinion, auto recycling centres in Belgium need to be more than just an ATF to recycle EVs and HEVs.
Being more than an ATF - Catherine Lenaerts post
Catherine Lenaerts

Before discarding your car, it ran 5 times around the world

According to our latest data, we were able to calculate (with the colleagues from Carpass who are fighting mileage fraud in Belgium) that end-of-life vehicles in Belgium covered an average of 190,000 km before they are discarded. 

A total of 134,629 end-of-life vehicles with an average age of 16.5 years were collected in 2019. This age is continuing to rise. For the circular economy, it is hopeful that the cars last longer and longer. We are also particularly proud of our recycling results: in 2019, 97.1% of the weight of all registered end-of-life vehicles was again reused, recycled or recovered. We also note that already 26.1% of the components of end-of-life vehicles in Belgium are reused.       

What remains then?

What remains is a small heap (2.9%) of various heterogeneous materials. We continue to look for useful applications for this. 

Focus on circularity

Our sector is rightly proud of this recycling result. But what about the circular economy? There, too, you will find many fine examples.  Both at the level of car production, during the use cycle and at the disposal of the vehicle, our sector is working on a circular product. Feel free to take a look at our database and get inspired

Electric and hybrid cars 

It is Febelauto’s mission to manage the recycling of end-of-life vehicles and it has been doing so for 20 years.

For some years now, it is also a producer responsibility organisation for electric vehicles and their batteries. Febelauto wants to turn this into a success story.

Meanwhile, the importers of 44 car makes signed a contract in which they actively appointed Febelauto as a management body for the processing of industrial batteries: a nice recognition for our pioneering work of recent years. 

Safety first

Febelauto is working very hard on safety. It’s important for the whole sector that there are as few accidents as possible or none at all: we’ve made a film to make all those involved in the recycling sector aware of the dangers of electric and hybrid cars. See Febelauto’s ‘Safe handling of batteries of electrical and hybrid vehicles’ video here.

We have also worked hard on Febelauto standards for recycling centres and acceptance points for electric vehicles and their batteries. These standards have been developed in collaboration with the entire chain. Of course, experience teaches us that this is an evolving standard, which has to keep up with developments.

We have invented the concept of the ATF+: previously only authorised treatment facilities (ATFs) used to process end-of-life vehicles, but now we have four ATF+ that can safely process electric and hybrid vehicles as well. Only an ATF+ is authorised and equipped to remove batteries from end-of-life vehicles safely and in accordance with the Febelauto standards ©. (English version is available upon simple request at

What about the batteries of electric cars?

Febelauto provides a second life for these batteries as a stationary storage of energy. This strengthens the circular economy. If reuse is not possible, these batteries are fully recycled according to the best available technology by companies operating in accordance with the principles of the European Directive 2006/66 on batteries and accumulators. 

Today, around 20% of the battery packs of electric vehicles are given a second life. 80% go to recycling as illustrated in the video – Febelauto: How Old Car Batteries Are Recycled

Our ambition is, of course, to increase the percentage of reuse. And to do this, Febelauto has set up a new company together with four other partners: Watt4ever, which was officially opened on the 24th June with the minister of mobility, converts batteries from e-mobility into sustainable energy storage systems for industrial buildings. 

To find out more about Watt4ever visit

About Febelauto …


The non-profit association Febelauto was founded in 1999 by various professional federations active in the automotive sector. As a management body for end-of-life vehicles in Belgium, Febelauto stimulates and coordinates the collection, treatment and recycling of end-of-life vehicles. It does this by, among other things, closely monitoring the environmentally friendly treatment of end-of-life vehicles by authorized treatment facilities and shredder installations.

Febelauto collects all relevant data and reports these to its members and authorities. The not-for-profit organisation also manages consultations between various interest groups and the three regions. Finally, it is also the task of Febelauto to inform authorised treatment facilities, recycling operators, authorities, private and professional last owners about all aspects of the collection and processing process.

Since 2015, Febelauto has also been developing sustainable solutions for the batteries of electric and hybrid vehicles. In doing so, Febelauto strives for a maximum lifespan for these batteries via second-life solutions, and in the final phase for efficient and maximum recycling of the rare and precious materials that make up these batteries. 

For more information, you can email Catherine at or visit

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