Are scrap vehicles really recycled?

You may have heard that when cars are scrapped today, their parts are recycled and reused. While once cars would rust for months in stacks leaking pollutants, today environmental laws govern the process. Scrap cars must be disposed of at Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs). These official scrap yards are run by professional vehicle dismantlers with a proven record of using the appropriate procedures established by the Environmental Agency (EA) for dealing with end-of-life vehicles (ELVs).

The truth is that today more parts of scrap cars are recycled than ever before. Read on for a detailed look at this important and eco-friendly process.

Recycling and the law

While UK legislation once insisted that 85 per cent of a scrap vehicle’s weight must be recycled, in 2016 these laws were updated. Now 95 per cent must be recycled, and thanks to cutting-edge technology, this is perfectly possible.

Depolluting before destroying

Specialist operators at ATFs depollute cars prior to scrapping. Hazardous substances and components like unused fluids and batteries are disposed of safely and a Certificate of Destruction (COD) is issued stating that the car is cleared for destruction.

The vehicle is then broken down into tiny fragments by giant rotary hammers. Able to deliver a powerful force, this equipment can shred vehicles in approximately 15 seconds. The minuscule pieces then fall through a specially designed grating and onto a conveyor. They are then carried beneath strong magnets that attract steel for recycling, leaving lighter materials behind.

Vacuum power

The fragments remaining on the conveyer belt typically include fabric, foam, light plastic, and rubber. A powerful vacuum extracts these elements that would originally have ended up in a landfill. State-of-the-art technologies developed today allow this material to be put to good use. It can now be converted into gas that creates steam to produce electricity.

Can plastic be recycled?

Plastic car parts would also find their way into landfills previously, but this is no longer the case. Advanced options allow these heavy plastics to be transformed back into their original state using a dedicated process known as “plastic polymers”. The plastics are reformed into easy to manage pellets that can be repurposed in moulds for brand-new cars.

Environmentally assured scrapping

Motorwise is a fully licensed registered scrap car service that is regulated by the EA. It is committed to reducing pollution and waste caused by car disposal. Contact our expert team today to recycle your scrap or salvage vehicle.


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