“One answer to all challenges: cooperation”

Published on 16 August 2018

Albert de Boer, disassembly entrepreneur in Stadskanaal, board member Stichting Auto & Recycling .

The newest and youngest board member is clearly a “hands-on practical person”. Albert de Boer, director of one of the best known car disassembly companies in the north of Holland, knows what car recycling in our country needs. “We are doing quite well in the Netherlands, but we have to work together to address new challenges”, says the Groningen resident. An introduction to a practical view of car recycling and entrepreneurship.


Tekst Arjen van der Sar

Newest board member, a Stiba delegate, is an entrepreneur first and foremost. Although the company has an office and workshop, De Boer Auto Onderdelen (also known as Reclycar) mainly interacts with its customers online. Customers can check the website of the company based in Stadskanaal for car parts, searching by number, code, brand and model. Albert de Boer sees his website as the most important tool in his car disassembly company in 2018. “Without the cooperation of the sector, it would have been hard to develop the site. Like 200 other companies in the Netherlands, we use the same data engine, the engine under the hood of the site. 

"I think that everyone who takes their car to a garage should have two options: a new part, or a quality used part"

There are several software companies in the Netherlands that supply disassembling companies with back office software. Stiba enables these companies to visualize the data in the same way, so these can be connected. The foundation is well designed, the look and user interface are our own home-made solution. Cooperation is great and very necessary, but we also need competition”, De Boer laughs.

Used and new

With his company De Boer Auto Onderdelen, the entrepreneur from Groningen has been active for many years buying damaged cars, scrap cars and buying and selling new and used car parts. Used and new parts; Albert de Boer believes there will be a growing "competition" between these two. “I think that someone who takes their car to a repair shop should have two options: the company can use a new part for the repair or a used part in good condition, with a quality mark and warranty, at a much lower price”, states De Boer. In the new circular way of thinking, "used” will become a growing viable alternative. “I am watching with great interest the developments in France, where a law [note: see the last paragraph] has been implemented that makes it mandatory for garages to offer two quotes: one for new parts and one for used parts. I think it's an excellent way to promote circular thinking."

Promote consumer confidence

De Boer believes that the introduction of a quality mark, possibly under the auspices of Stiba, could promote the professional image of the disassembly sector, "and promote consumer confidence. We can only create a quality mark if all parties in the supply chain cooperate”, explains the entrepreneur from Groningen. He is convinced that reusing products should be one of the first priorities, and a key pillar of circular thinking. “The best way to recycle is to reuse the product.” 

The challenge of electric cars

Cooperation will also play an important role in facing new challenges. “Electric and hybrid cars are one of these challenges. This is definitely something that we should study together, under the umbrella of ARN. Although we don't expect the first wave of disassembled hybrid cars for another five years, I believe that we must keep in close contact with the manufacturers so we know what to expect."

“A quality mark will lend credibility to the professional image of the disassembling sector and promote consumer confidence

And of course we face the major challenge of disassembling and processing all the new materials found in these cars. “This has been at play for a while, but it also demands a high level of professionalism and resourcefulness of the industry.”

Sustainability is the key word

De Boer affirms that there are numerous issues that many disassembly companies in the Netherlands can never tackle on their own. “When we look at the main outline of the climate regulations, it becomes quite clear that it's all about sustainability. We will all have to step up. I am optimistic. The days of "every person for himself" are far behind us. Of course we are all independent entrepreneurs. Using good business skills to improve the supply of cars, or sourcing a good channel for disposing of materials will only benefit your company. But there are some issues that require us to work together as an industry and supply chain to make it happen. And we are seeing more and more of this. This attitude has is one o the reasons why the Netherlands boasts an incredibly high recycling percentage of more than 98%. At ARN we like to say: recycling is teamwork.”

The French law

France has given the reuse of car parts a huge push. French parliament has approved a new law that makes it mandatory for garages and service stations to offer their clients not only new parts for repair but also used parts.

Disassembly and repair companies generally welcome this French approach, according to an article in Automotive Management . The article quoted Marianne Tromp of Ronald Morien Automotive: “Both the consumer and garages still lack a lot of information about the possibilities of used parts. By making the option of used parts mandatory, the consumer can make an informed decision. The price difference will also be quite clear.”

However, this mandatory policy doesn't apply to all repairs and replacements. The law applies to the following categories of spare parts:

  • removable parts of the body
  • Interior upholstery and upholstery
  • Non-glued glass
  • Optical components
  • Some mechanical or electric components.

For more information about this new French law, see here for the complete text of law.