Around the Industry: Effort to Reduce Copper in Brake Pads Underway

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Representatives of the U.S. EPA, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and motor vehicle industry associations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) calling for a reduction in the use of copper in brake pads beginning in 2021 to levels less than 5 percent by weight and further reductions to 0.5 percent by 2025.

California and Washington have already enacted legislation to this effect. According to the groups behind the MOU, guidelines were needed at the national level to ensure consistency in reporting requirements and recognition of the industry’s compliance with those laws.

“This historic MOU will provide the motor vehicle industry with consistent copper reduction guidelines and eliminate the potential for disparate state regulations,” explained Steve Handschuh, president and CEO of Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), one of the industry associations involved in this effort. “This has been a proactive, collaborative effort by regulatory agencies, states, the automotive aftermarket and the motor vehicle industry to reduce copper in U.S. waterways.”

Other industry associations that supported this effort and provided feedback on the MOU were the Auto Care Association, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, Brake Manufacturers Council, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers and the Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association.

Stan Meiburg, acting deputy assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the agency is proud to partner with the automotive industry and the states to reduce the use of copper in motor vehicle brake pads, “which means less of this material running off our roads and into our nation’s waterways.” He also added, “The environment and public health in our country will benefit from this type of collaboration between the public and private sector.”

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