Get The Lead Out
The motor industry is under attack from all sides by the green lobby and the car is subject to environmental constraints at all stages of its life cycle. It looks as though yet more restrictions will be imposed on the industry with the likely adoption of the End Of Life Vehicle Directive (ELV); this lays down minimum requirements for the recyclability of cars and also seeks to reduce or eliminate toxic or environmentally-unfriendly materials used in construction. Lead is one such material and it is not only used in car building, but also in wheel balancing weights. If lead is outlawed, what are the alternatives for the automotive industries, and the tyre trade? What alternative materials are available, and what are the likely costs? Coated lead weights do not solve the problem, which leaves steel and tin as the most likely solutions. Tin is easier to work than steel, but it is many times more expensive than lead, and could lead to significant increases in costs for tyre shops, who will have to decide whether or not to pass this on to the customer. The ELV places the responsibility for disposing of vehicles squarely on the shoulders of the manufacturers, and they will put pressure on their suppliers to ensure that levels of toxic materials are kept to a minimum.