Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering


Automotive Recycling;Automotive Shredder Residue;Circular Economy;End-of-life Vehicles;Progression Model;Scoring Methodology


Edwin Tam



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The Canadian automotive recycling industry is essential to the modern world market to properly dispose of the millions of obsolete vehicles annually. Currently, the industry is fragmented with mostly small to medium-sized operations. There is a lack of enforceable regulations specific to the automotive recycling industry for most jurisdictions. Conversely, the automotive manufacturing industry has embraced the idea of efficiency improvements toward a circular economy (CE). As an integral part of the automotive industry, the automotive recycling industry is a critical but often unseen contributor to a sustainable global industry. As such, the evolution of the Canadian end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recovery system (ELVRS) from its current fragmented state towards a more sustainable state is necessary. The goal of this research is to develop a framework for the Canadian automotive recycling industry to transition to CE. To achieve this goal, research was conducted on: 1. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and corporate social responsibility reporting (CSRR) formats that are available; 2. Mandatory and voluntary environmental initiatives executed in various industries; 3. The Canadian automotive recycling industry and its ELVRS; and 4. International automotive recycling industries and their ELVRS. The presence of CSR in large corporations is evident. Often, a dedicated sustainability department is present within the corporate structure; specialized personnel and resources are utilized to create CSR reports complying with the selected CSRR format. CSRR standards are widely adopted in the automotive manufacturing industry. However, in the automotive recycling industry, the presence of CSR reports is a rarity. Sustainable development initiatives are often implemented with either a mandatory or voluntary approach; debates on each approach’s effectiveness are commonplace. An ideal mix was determined after evaluating existing programs. The ELVRS in Ontario, which represents the general state of practice in Canada, follows the generic model of collection, depollution, dismantle, shredder, post shredder, and disposal. Currently, about 75-80% of the ELVs by weight are recycled and recovered. The remaining 20-25% of automotive shredder residues are currently disposed of in landfills. The current Canadian system has its unique set of challenges in its progression towards a CE. Internationally, the European Union, Japan, and China ELVPS were studied and analyzed to better understand what rules and practices are currently in these international economies. The culmination of this knowledge lead to the creation of the novel 4-Stage Industry Progression Model and the ELVRS Scoring Methodology to benchmark, compare, and evaluate the Canadian ELVRS and the selected international systems. Finally, a specific development framework was created to transition the Canadian automotive recycling industry towards CE.