When the amount of vehicles exceeds that of the population, can ELV policy be a solution?
The end-of-life vehicle (ELV) policy in Malaysia is making progress. Currently, Malaysia is studying how to best approach the development of this policy, according to Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, Malaysia’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. He wishes that vehicle parts that become obsolete be recycled into something else instead of being disposed of as waste. By looking up to Singapore and Japan, Malaysia will cooperate with three top universities in Malaysia to handle the recycling and upcycling of such parts. The universities include Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.
Each year, a large number of motor vehicles reach their end of life. It is up to users to decide whether their car has become obsolete or not. The decision to end the life of a vehicle can be because it is no longer presentable, no longer up to date, or simply because it is too old and can no longer be used or repaired. At this point, users have no other choice than to abandon their vehicle in exchange for a new one. ELV policy seeks to increase extended producer responsibility to handle vehicle waste. Such waste can cause a negative environmental impact if not properly managed. Therefore, ELV policy is of growing importance.
ELV policy in Malaysia has been in discourse for some time. There are a few challenges in realizing this policy. They include the lack of regulations and firm capabilities, high adoption costs, low level of customers’ sustainability awareness, and less attention to social responsibility. These challenges can only be addressed through a strong political will from the government. Commitments that can be shown by the government are, amongst others, financial certainty to adopt this policy, regulation certainty, and consistent promotion of green awareness in society.
It is, however, understandable that creating an ELV policy is not a fast process. The European Union is also in the middle of formulating a policy for the sustainable management of end-of-life vehicles. The goal is to eliminate hazardous materials from vehicles and recycle and/or reuse vehicle parts that can be saved. The policy is planned to be adopted by the European Commission in the fourth quarter of 2022 after reviewing feedback given by the public. This policy is in line with the transition from a linear economic system to a more sustainable circular economy.
Malaysia hosts approximately 32.7 million people. According to road safety expert Professor Dr Kulanthayan K.C. Mani, the number of registered vehicles in Malaysia reached 33.3 million in 2021. With the number of vehicles surpassing that of the population, the country has no other choice but to invest in the management of the large amount of vehicle waste being generated in the near future. Applying circular economy principles to address this issue offer an opportunity to transform waste into an economic opportunity. Involving manufacturers in being responsible for the waste created by their products through ELV policy will also benefit Malaysia in reducing the vehicle waste issue. The issue will only increase in the future if not addressed effectively in time.