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Rafael Azor Castaño on Auto Recycling, the AAD, and the Future

Rafael Azor Castaño, president of the Andalusian Association of Dismantlers (AAD) and owner of vehicle recycling operation Desguaces Azor SL, based in Spain, tells us about his vehicle recycling operation and the role the AAD plays in the vehicle recycling sector.


Rafael Azor Castaño on Auto Recycling, the AAD, and the Future RA
Rafael Azor Castaño
Auto Recycling and Desguace Azor

Desguace Azor is a family business that dates back to 1987, and we had humble beginnings on a small piece of land in Baza (Granada). Our company has always been characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit which, thanks to its character of safety and efficiency, has led us to grow constantly during these years and to carry out various expansions in our infrastructure to offer a better and broader quality service to our clients. The main key to its development are perseverance, work, and investment in technology, infrastructure and facilities. We are a benchmark in our sector, and proof of this is the different awards and distinctions we have received throughout our history.

Association Andaluza de Desguaces (AAD)

The Andalusian Association of Dismantlers is an independent association established in 1999. It represents the industries in the vehicle dismantling sector, with the main objective of contributing to its development by defending their interests in our autonomous community. It currently represents about 130 ATFs.

The Evolution of Andalusia’s Autonomous ATF Sector

Since its inception, the ATF sector in Andalusia has depended mainly on the national association, but in Spain, there are 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities, which have transferred some powers, such as the surveillance of our sector within the autonomous administration competent in the Environment and from where regulations that directly affect us are also developed. This situation, added to the geographical characteristics and the need to have a source of truthful information that was accessible and close to our centers, led us to generate the need to create an association in our Autonomous Community of Andalusia, and despite the fact that, Initially our association even though it was independent was part of the national association, in 2015 and supported by the vote of our members the situation changed, and since then we have gone our separate ways and as a result of this we have been able to streamline our management.

AAD’s main objectives 

Our main objectives are the representation of the Andalusian ATF´s sector, preserving its good image and contributing to its development in various areas, and intervening in legislative or regulatory issues relating to environmental application or performance of professionals at the Autonomous, National or European level.

The AAD’s International Expansion and Collaborative Efforts with EGARA

The AAD partners placed their trust and voted me to be president in 2014. This was a great responsibility that led me to create a Board of Directors team made up of ATF owners from each location, a technical and legal team. From this moment, we have grown as professionals and increased the number of partners who have given us their support for the work done. In 2018, we approached EGARA, where we were very well received, to join us definitively in 2019 as partners; this has meant an extra effort to represent our partners in Europe and help and contribute together with EGARA working with relevant European organizations in tasks, such as the development of the EU Regulation on End of Life Vehicles (ELV), or the Battery Regulation, fight against the illegal sector, training on the treatment of ELVs or EVs… EGARA has contributed both at the level of the Commission and the European Parliament. AAD has participated in debates and meetings with other trade associations from around the world in the automotive sector, such as Associations of dismantlers, automobile manufacturers, producers of components and parts, recycling industries, etc.

EU ELV Regulations and AAD’s Advocacy

AAD strongly advocates for market freedom; consumers should be able to choose their preferred ATF to deliver their vehicle or purchase parts, avoiding market distortion and encouraging healthy competition. The importance of extending Producer Responsibility (EPR) networks to all legalized ATFs so that monopolies cannot be created, ensuring Government supervision over the performance of these systems and guaranteeing comprehensive management of ELVs.

The Crucial Role of Associations in Advocating for Sectoral Needs and Engaging with Authorities

Before pointing out the importance of the Autonomous Communities in Spain, these are important because they have transferred some powers, such as the Environment. AAD was born from this need, but for a long time, we believed that it was important to defend our sector beyond the borders of Andalusia, Spain, or Europe.

Associations are support tools for companies, where they can go to seek information and help and from where the needs of companies can be collected and transferred to the administrations and their proximity to them helps us to better understand the problems, that is why we consider that it is essential to have a relationship at the national and European level, and no less important is the need to know the singularities of the sector to be able to exercise this responsibility.

Industry Outlook and Challenges

The future of the industry from my point of view as president of the association and automobile recycler is seen with many doubts and uncertainties given that manufacturers will have to resort to expanded producer responsibility, which requires them to ensure that a product from its construction follows a series of processes until final decontamination, sale of parts and obtaining raw materials, following a series of environmental considerations during its design and manufacturing phases.

Ensuring Harmony in the Automotive Recycling Sector for a Sustainable Circular Economy

This work has to be supervised by the Government, or in the future; it may create a conflict between the ATF sector because we depend on the work of the automobile manufacturers, who will have to decide between an individual or collective system to carry out said procedure this is united together with the design of the vehicles so that we can recover and recycle the greatest number of parts and raw materials, the work belongs to all Manufacturers, Dismantlers, Shredder and Post-Shredder so that we have an adequate circular economy in the automobile cycle it is the work of everyone and presents a great challenge.

Electric Vehicle Recycling in Andalucia

Electric vehicles are currently going strong. They are not the future, but the present and Andalusia continues in a process of constant development in the dismantling and recycling of electric vehicles, but we still have an arduous road ahead for companies to manage them, such as recycling of electric vehicle batteries, for example, and on the other hand, the conditions for training and accessibility to professional training for the handling of these vehicles in the ATF is extraordinarily complex.

AAD’s Initiatives in Member Education and Collaboration for Sustainable Waste Management

AAD is doing everything in its power to educate and equip its members for the expected increase in volume by holding various information meetings and provincial conferences, of which we have three planned this year in Jaén, Granada and Seville; we are working with the Waste and Soil Quality Service of the Ministry of Sustainability, Environment and Sustainable Development of the Junta de Andalucía, Seville (Spain) in a sectoral agreement to minimize the impact of hazardous waste from ELVs and EVs and create a manual of good practices for their treatment and recycling.

Find out more about the Andalusian Association of Dismantlers (AAD)

Rafael Azor Castaño on Auto Recycling, the AAD, and the Future p twelve