There are legal issues revolving around VIN number registration and the auto recycling industry has responsibilities in the registration process. The industry also strives for legislation that could help bolster the recycling industry and provide rules and regulations that ensure all stakeholders are able to achieve their goals.

To discuss the industry’s concerns, American Recycler recently spoke with Herb Lieberman. Lieberman is a corporate industry liaison with LKQ Corporation, a past President of ARA, chairman of the ARA’s Salvage Solutions Committee and he serves on the ARA’s Board of Directors.

What is on your legislative and regulatory agenda at the federal level?

Lieberman: The ARA currently has its focus on The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) and the Federal Anti-Auto Theft Act of 1992 as amended by The Anti-Car Theft Improvements Act of 1996.

ARA has been supportive of NMVTIS and is looking forward to its implementation as soon as possible. The support for this action by ARA comes from its goal of removing Total Loss Vehicles and end of life (ELV) Vehicles and or their vehicle identification numbers (VIN) for utilization in fraud, theft and other illegal purposes.

What is on your legislative and administrative agenda at the state level? Are the states doing enough to pass similar legislation to create a level playing field for automobile recyclers in terms of various regulations, tax incentives and business and environmental standards?

Lieberman: ARA does not directly participate in state legislation, although it works very close with its state affiliate chapters to help in any way possible on state legislation.

With 50 states having the right to establish their own laws and regulations, it is very hard for an industry such as the motor vehicle dismantling and recycling industry to have internal consistency in the process.

The automobile recycling industry encompasses many firms - from small to large, and a variety of elements. What are the positive and negative trends that are developing in the industry?

Lieberman: Until about 10 years ago, there were very, very few large, multiple location operations and not a single public company. Today, we have two public companies in the motor vehicle dismantling and recycling industry and several independently-owned multiple-location companies.

Yet, by far the vast majority of our industry is small, single-location, family-owned, independent businesses numbering in the range of 8,000.

The most positive trend I see comes from the advent of industry consolidation and independent recycler alliances. This activity has brought a much higher level of industry awareness and utilization, as well as vastly improved performance, prior to, during and after-sale processes.

On the down side, there are too many dismantlers and recyclers, both legal and otherwise, that do not want to participate in change. The fact is, change is the only true consistent in business. Change in law and regulation; industry direction; marketplace demands; the product we are processing; and last, but certainly not least, change that demands education on behalf of business owners and staff.

Is sufficient progress being made in terms of working with the automobile manufacturing industry and parts manufacturers to produce vehicles that are easier to recycle?

Lieberman: As far as motor vehicle dismantlers and recyclers working with others who have a stake in what we do, such as the automobile manufacturers, the doors have never been shut, but they sure could be opened wider and invitations extended on both sides of the hall.

As a dismantler and recycler, I have always believed that the door that must be opened to us with the OEM’s is at the point vehicles are being designed on paper. To that end, just last week I met with an OEM chief designer and we have agreed to meet again. Although the Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP) has concluded its work, much was learned and I would only hope we could open that door again.