We should recycle old cars just like we recycle rubbish

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In a bid to save the planet, we recycle much of our household waste every day. Sorting the plastics, cardboard and metal in to their respective boxes. Yet, when it comes to getting rid of an old car we aren’t always so cautious.

On average, around two million cars reach the end of their working every year in the UK alone, and disposing of the tonnes of metal, rubber and fluids is a huge environmental issue.

In 2015 the government set a target of 95% of car parts being recycled.  Achieving such a big target isn’t easy, but statistics suggest that the industry’s latest developments have reduced its landfill waste by as much as 90% since the year 2000 so the extra effort does have an impact.















However, only around half of scrap vehicles are treated at authorised treatment facilities (ATFs) that are specially equipped and registered for recycling or disposing of various parts of vehicles.

That means a million cars are ending up on driveways or in illegal scrap yards, being left to rust and leaking heavy metals and toxins into the ground. It is estimated that thousands of tonnes of oil and brake fluid are poured down drains whilst tyres are often fly-tipped.

How to recycle your car responsibly 


When getting rid of your old car, first check the company you are asking to scrap your car is registered with the Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Protection Agency and carries an EA Waster Management and Waste Carriers Licence. This will guarantee that they use authorised treatment facilities.

This will ensure that all the proper documentation is filled in so you won’t get a nasty surprise a few months if the car is re-used and a parking ticket is sent to your address.

After determining if a car can be re-used and sold on, or if any useful parts can be salvaged, the recycling process would begin. If a car is at the end of it’s useful life, then the parts must be safely disposed of.

First, the car will be transported to a depollution building to have its fluids such as petrol, coolant, screen wash, oil and other fluids pumped out into separate sealed tanks. These are sent for specialist recycling or disposal.

Then the battery is removed for recycling, the airbags are deployed and the tyres are removed.  Hazardous materials, such as mercury switches will also be removed at this stage.

Once any fluids and hazardous parts are removed, all of the other parts can now be removed from the vehicle. This includes anything from catalytic converters and oil filters to glass, bumpers and other large plastic parts. This is often done by an auto-dismantler, which can quickly and accurately take a car apart so that different bits can be recycled. The remaining bits are crushed and are sent to be shredded up for further recycling.

Anyone who sends their vehicle to be scrapped at an authorised centre will be given a Certificate of Destruction, proving that the car has been destroyed.  The DVLA will also be informed that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle.


If you are looking to get rid of your old car and are considering having it scrapped, get in contact with our experts today to see how we can help.