In an era marked by rapid industrial advancements and growing environmental consciousness, the vehicle recycling industry has emerged as a critical player in promoting sustainable practices and minimizing the ecological footprint of our transportation systems. Auto Recycling World had the privilege of speaking with Juny Nam, the director of Goodbyecar, a Korean company at the forefront of the vehicle recycling revolution.
Background and growth in the Korean vehicle recycling industry
My involvement in the Korean vehicle recycling industry began in 1992 when I made the first shipment of used trucks under Daewoo Corporation, and in 2016, I opened the first auto recycling yard under the name Goodbyecar Corporation.
Over the years, our commitment to sustainable vehicle disposal practices and environmental responsibility has driven our growth. In 2023, we expanded further by establishing our second yard, and we have ambitious plans to open our third and fourth auto recycling yards next year.
In addition to our operational growth, I’ve also played a significant role in the industry’s development by serving as a co-auditor for the Korea Auto Dismantlement Recycling Association (KADRA) for three years. KADRA is at the forefront of promoting responsible auto recycling practices in Korea, and our involvement has allowed us to contribute to the industry’s standards and best practices.
Prior to venturing into auto recycling yard operations, between 2000 and 2006, I operated a nationwide online car disposal service, making us the first and only company in Korea to provide comprehensive car disposal services under the ‘Goodbyecar’ brand. Our commitment to quality service and environmental responsibility has gained recognition, leading us to launch advertising campaigns on radio and TV this year, further solidifying our presence in the Korean vehicle recycling industry. Our journey has been marked by dedication to sustainability and innovation, and we look forward to continuing our growth and impact in the years to come.
Sources of vehicles and promoting responsible recycling
Our main sources for vehicle recycling are divided into two categories, with approximately 50% of end-of-life vehicles coming from various dealers and brokers, while the remaining 50% are sourced directly from car owners and auto insurance companies. To promote responsible recycling and encourage the public to participate in our “Goodbyecar” program, we have launched advertising campaigns on both radio since January 2023 and television since April 2023. You can watch our TV spot below:
One challenge we face in Korea is the presence of illegal operators in the car recycling industry who offer lower prices to car owners. These illegal operators can afford to provide higher payouts because they evade the high costs associated with complying with environmental and safety regulations, which we strictly adhere to. To combat this issue, we rely on the Motor Vehicle Management Act, which serves as the primary legislation governing the car recycling business in Korea.
Under the Motor Vehicle Management Act, any illegal operations in the car recycling industry are subject to punishment. This legislation is crucial in disrupting illegal operators and ensuring that responsible recycling practices are upheld. We are committed to enforcing this law to maintain the integrity of our industry and protect the environment, ensuring that vehicle recycling is done responsibly and sustainably.
Recycling electric vehicles (EVs)
Recycling electric vehicles (EVs) presents a promising avenue for substantial business opportunities, with the latest registration data showing a notable presence of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) totaling 478,848 units as of July 2023, accounting for 1.86% of the total car registrations of 25,795,336 units, and an additional 32,896 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), the EV market is on the rise. However, the journey towards efficient EV recycling is still in its early stages.
Despite dedicating five years to the EV recycling business, it remains largely uncharted territory, with limited information sharing from EV manufacturers to car recyclers. This underscores the pressing need for increased investment in research and development (R&D) in the field of EV recycling.
As the EV industry continues to grow, now is indeed the opportune time to delve deeper into the world of EV recycling, paving the way for sustainable and environmentally responsible practices in this burgeoning sector.
The Future of Vehicle Recycling in Korea
The future of vehicle recycling in Korea is at a pivotal juncture, marked by a clear distinction between traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars and the emerging Electric Vehicles (EVs). While dismantling ICE cars may not require extensive research and development, the landscape is rapidly evolving with the rise of EVs. Understanding EVs at a deeper level is becoming crucial for recyclers, as it holds the key to increasing profitability in this industry.
To stay ahead, it is imperative for recycling companies to establish their own research laboratories and foster technical collaborations with government or public research institutions. Demonstrating transparency and commitment to EV recycling, some forward-thinking companies are sharing their initiatives through platforms like YouTube, such as the channel @PowerBastro. These efforts are essential in engaging potential stakeholders and advancing the future of vehicle recycling in Korea.
And the future of Goodbye Car?
The future of Goodbye Car appears to be a visionary one, we have plans to establish over ten auto recycling yards in Korea, as well as expanding operations into Europe and the USA. The focus on recycling Hyundai and Kia electric vehicles showcases a commitment to sustainability in the rapidly evolving automotive industry. Moreover, the company’s ambition to broaden its scope to include other brands demonstrates a long-term vision for growth.
Goodbyecar’s transition into the energy sector, particularly through the implementation of independent solar and hydrogen power systems, underscores a commitment to environmentally conscious practices. The ‘BASTRO’ brand, comprised of second-hand EV batteries, promises to deliver small-capacity power stations, while the concept of a 30kw~50kw movable power plant built from retired FCEV fuel stacks speaks to innovation and adaptability in a changing energy landscape.
Goodbyecar appears to be positioning itself as a key player in both recycling and sustainable energy solutions.