BRUSSELS — The European Parliament (EP) and representatives from the 15 European Union member states reach a final agreement for recycling vehicles at the end of their life.

Under the agreement, which is being called a compromise between the EP and national governments, automakers will cover most of the costs to recycle the cars they sell after January 1, 2001. After 2007, OEMs must take back any car they have ever sold without charging the customer. Local governments can move up this date at their discretion.

The directive also stipulated automakers must reuse or recycle 80% of old cars starting in 2006, and 85% by 2015. Vintage cars are not covered by the law.

“This is a good outcome for the environment,” Margot Wallstroem, environment commissioner, says. “We have achieved our key objectives, which are to improve the management of waste and remove a number of materials, which damage the environment, from the waste stream. This will contribute to long-term sustainable development.”

The law also says hazardous heavy metals including lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium cannot be used after 2003. But the law does allow for limited use of chromium for anti-corrosion purposes.

Consumers will see no added costs with the plan. The European automakers association estimated that automakers would see a $116 charge for every vehicle recycled after 2002. Experts have said more than 8 million vehicles could be scrapped by that time.