Mar. 9 - End-of-life vehicles can be an environmental hazard, but in Finland scrapped cars are being turned into a myriad of new products from cosmetics to cookware. The Finns have taken very seriously, a European Union directive to recycle 85 % of all cars that have reached the end of the road, giving them second lives elsewhere. Elly Park has more.
After their days on the road are spent, around 650,000 cars get a new lease of life in Finland each year. The Nordic country has perfected the process of recycling disused vehicles, turning them into paint, mobile phone parts and cookware among other things. And it all starts here, at the Kuusakoski Recycling center in Vantaa, one of the 272 free of charge take-back points operated by the Finnish Car Recycling company. Its Managing Director, Arto Silvennoinen says although the program has taken off, it took some effort. (SOUNDBITE)(Finnish) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF FINNISH CAR RECYCLING LTD, ARTO SILVENNOINEN; SAYING: "Our company has been operating for ten years and one of our greatest challenge during this entire period has been to communicate with people and raise awareness about car recycling, and what is required of the customers to do." That requirement is written into an EU directive which states that all member countries must recover and recycle 95 percent of their old disposed cars by January 2015. 85 percent of each car has to be repurposed. Finland hit the target in 2010 -- by using state of the art centers that first strip the car of any resusable parts. The remains are then sent into a shredder which separate the steel - which accounts for 70 percent of the waste - and other waste material in a 30-second process. The recovered materials are bought by companies who put them to good use, such as Hackmann -- a producer of steel cookware. Around 70 percent of the steel used in these pans is reused steel, much coming from the disposed cars according to Hackmann's Petteri Laurikainen. (SOUNDBITE)(English) BUSINESS MANAGER OF COOKWARE AND CUTLERY FISKARS OY, PETTERI LAURIKAINEN, SAYING: " It's not something that we have actively debated on starting to use the material. It has been a natural revolution to us to start using the recycled material as long as its available." And with millions of vehicles crowding the roads, cookware made of car parts could become a household staple in the future.