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Dutch car recycling with a feminine touch

Do you dream of a world without any waste? A world in which products can be reused and materials meet the demands of high recycling standards? There is a sector in which producers have been tasked with repurposing at least 95 percent of the weight of the products they put on the European market: the automotive sector.

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Image © ARN – Ingrid Niessing

In the Netherlands, ARN helps the automotive sector achieve and surpass that goal for repurposing at least 95 percent of the weight. Ingrid Niessing, CEO since November 2017, talks about the challenges car recycling is facing. As a woman in the car recycling industry, she gives a feminine touch to sustainable solutions in working together with many parties in and beyond the recycling chain. “ARN’s vision is future-oriented. ARN aims for responsible and high-quality car recycling that contributes to the circular economy, without damaging the natural or living environment.” 

From dump to high-tech car recycling

It is a major contrast: the past image of old cars dumped in a field, compared to today’s high-tech car recycling. Ingrid Niessing said: “In the Netherlands, we recycle over 98 percent of the weight of end-of-life vehicles. These days, you could fit what is left of your old car in a shopping bag. As a facilitator in the field of car recycling, ARN was there since the start of this development. Stricter environmental rules and technical innovations gave vehicle recycling a major impulse. But: Past performance is not a guarantee for the future. The composition of cars is changing, and that poses a number of questions. For example, how can we ensure that we will still be able to gainfully reuse materials from end-of-life cars in future? Also, the popularity of electric cars is soaring. And this is something we’ll all have to deal with because of the increasing numbers of battery packs.”

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Image © ecarACCU
360-degree view outside


Working together is key according to Ingrid Niessing: “ARN develops from chain director to facilitator and, where necessary, the initiator that puts in place the required preconditions. But this is only possible if chain partners assume their respective responsibilities for high-value recycling. In other words, with a 360-degree view outside, we take care of the overarching activities. And should recycling circumstances or requirements change, side-by-side, we collectively find the appropriate solutions. Manufacturers and recyclers are getting closer, and we need an international approach to face today’s challenges. Therefore it is important to work together in a European knowledge network. The International Automobile Recycling Congress (IARC) in Geneva, Switzerland, is an important event to bring people with various expertise together to discuss the developments and face the challenges together. 

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Image © foto automontage voor recycling
Look to the future


“To stay ahead of the game, we explicitly look to the future”, Ingrid Niessing claims. “In 2020, for example, we developed possible scenarios for 2030 by describing the conventional car, the connected car and the circular car. As a car-recycling chain, it is incumbent on us to already start looking at the repercussions that these possible scenarios will have on how producers meet their responsibilities in future. Make no mistake: current developments will affect what we do: car recycling will become far more complex. ARN is already doing the necessary groundwork, constantly monitoring developments in our environment and the consequences that they will have for car recycling.” Ingrid Niessing concludes: “In conjunction with stakeholders, including the government, we intend to further explore how the car-recycling chain should proceed going forward.”

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Image © ARN

The composition of vehicles, car batteries and changing business models are topics that are extensively discussed throughout the ARN Sustainability Report.

To find out more about ARN, visit


About ARN


ARN was founded in 1995 under the name ‘Auto Recycling Nederland’ by four market parties from the automotive industry: BOVAG, FOCWA, RAI Vereniging and Stiba. ARN is, therefore an initiative from the sector itself, not from government. With this goal: helping the Netherlands to meet European standards and to make vehicle dismantling/recycling as clean, sustainable and complete as possible.