Groupe Surplus Recyclage has become a leading force in industrializing vehicle recycling for the automotive, motorbike, and industrial sectors. With a unique organizational model, Groupe Surplus Recyclage aims to optimize production and offer reliable and efficient reconditioned parts for all types of vehicles. Auto Recycling World spoke to Founder and President Laurent Hérail and Benjamin Hérail, General Manager, who discussed the formation, development, and vision of Groupe Surplus Recyclage, as well as the challenges and opportunities faced in the evolving landscape of auto recycling in France.
The Surplus Recyclage Group was founded in 2005 by Laurent Hérail in Occitanie. The group’s development is driven by the ambition to industrialize vehicle recycling for the automotive, motorbike and industrial sectors.
Run by Laurent and Benjamin Hérail, the Surplus Recyclage Group operates on a 30-hectare site with three approved individual recycling centres.
Surplus Autos, Surplus Motos and Surplus Industries are our three entities dedicated to the treatment and the reuse of end-of-life vehicles and equipment.
Our activity consists in depolluting and dismantling vehicles in order to recover reusable spare parts. All our products follow a strict and rigorous reconditioning process in accordance with the group’s quality charter.
The entire production chain, up to the distribution of the products, is managed in-house.
Today, the Surplus Recycling Group is the only player in the industry in France able to offer the three activities of cars, motorbikes and other heavy vehicles in three separate plants in the same industrial complex. A unique organization that allows us to optimize our production model and to offer reliable and efficient reconditioned parts for all types of vehicles.
Thanks to the application of a tailor-made virtuous production model, the Group initiated, in 2020, the reconditioned spare part from the circular economy.
Adapting to Evolving Vehicle Recycling Challenges in the 21st Century
The recycling of end-of-life vehicles is subject to strict administrative and environmental regulations.
Our activity consists of transforming an end-of-life vehicle classified as dangerous waste into new resources.
All vehicles are depolluted and then dismantled to recover reusable parts. Throughout the production process, our products undergo several tests and technical checks to verify their good condition and reliability. On average, three out of five pieces get reconditioned piece compliance from the circular economy.
In order to offer a second life to as many parts as possible, we have deployed repair workshops for both mechanical and bodywork components.
We market and distribute our products directly on our e-commerce sites.
Both private individuals and professionals can buy our reconditioned parts at a price 50 to 70% lower than the new price and benefit from a 2-year warranty.
At the same time, we carry out a rigorous sorting of the parts that are not retained so that they can be recycled into materials. Waste that cannot be recycled as such is sent to appropriate treatment plants. The final objective is to give value to this waste in new production cycles.
Groupe Surplus Recyclage’s Vision in Vehicle Recycling
The specificity of our industrial complex is based on its unique organization in Europe. We are the only player to have developed three separate recycling centers in the same area, specialized by major vehicle types:
- Surplus Autos: the specialist in the treatment of vehicles under 3.5 tons.
- Surplus Motos: the specialist in the treatment of motorbikes, scooters, quads and vehicles without a licence.
- Surplus Industries: the specialist in the treatment of heavy industrial vehicles and equipment from the heavy goods vehicle, agricultural, leisure and construction sectors.
In addition to the treatment and recycling of end-of-life vehicles, we wish to offer a complete ecosystem to respond to the needs of all players in the sector: manufacturers, insurance companies, local authorities, etc.
With this aim in mind, we have developed a global solution, GSR Logistics, to meet all the needs related to administrative management and to manage the collection and handling of vehicles. These actions contribute to limiting the illegal dumping of vehicles on the territory and ensure perfect traceability in their management.
Convinced of the economic and environmental benefits of reconditioned parts, we have created a vehicle and equipment reconditioning centre at the heart of our industrial complex: GSR Repair. More than 30% of the repairs are carried out with used parts from our own recycling centres. Favouring the use of reconditioned parts contributes to a more virtuous mobility by extending the life of vehicles and preserving natural resources by limiting the manufacture of new parts.
Aware of the changes in the automotive market, with the development of new means of mobility, we are investing in the research and development of new recycling solutions for electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles and electronic components present. Today, we have identified several possible recovery outlets for electric batteries.
Recognizing the Significance of Auto Recycling: A Prime Minister’s Visit to Groupe Surplus
Every year in France, more than 1.5 million vehicles reach the end of their life and are taken off the road due to accidents or obsolescence.
Used parts represent 4% of the spare parts market in France, while this figure reaches 20% in neighboring countries such as Spain or Sweden and up to 25% in the United States.
The second-hand parts market in France is behind its neighbours. However, the regulations related to the operation of this activity are no less stringent. Indeed, a prefectural approval is required to exercise the profession of recycler, to which is added the respect of strict specifications in terms of environmental standards. The profession is supervised and ensures perfect traceability of its activity with administrative organizations.
To date, our circular economy industrial complex, composed of three dedicated recycling centres per activity, is unique in Europe. We have industrialized each factory with the installation of adapted equipment and tooling, with the aim of improving both our productivity and the working conditions of our employees.
The visit of French Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, to our site was an opportunity to communicate existing solutions that could respond to current environmental and economic issues. Indeed, the role of public authorities is essential to encourage the creation of similar structures on our territory and beyond. This will help to structure the sector and thus develop the used parts market to extend the life of vehicles.
Factors and Role of Auto Recycling in France
During her visit to our factory, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced the launch of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme. The main objective of this new regulation is to neutralise end-of-life vehicles that are currently not taken care of by the recycling sector and to double the production of reused parts within five years.
On the other hand, this regulation aims to increase the recycling of end-of-life vehicles by involving manufacturers throughout the life cycle of a vehicle. It is a positive initiative that engages in discussion and raises awareness of all the stakeholders right from the design of the vehicles and their components.
Automotive recycling is based on specific know-how and organisation. It is an essential link in the life cycle of a vehicle. All stakeholders in the sector have their own expertise, but actions can be taken on both sides to act in a common interest.
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