From Unwanted Scrap Car to Material Resource

Car recycling today is increasingly turning scrap cars into important sources of materials that can be made into useful products.  It hasn’t always been this way.  Due to low scrap metal prices in the mid 2000s, scrap cars were becoming a social problem.  Owners chose to abandon their vehicles rather than pay to have them dealt with properly.

Scrap cars are highly recycled as they have a high metallic content and they have been recycled to around 75% for decades.  This level of car recycling can be thought of as an economic limit, as it’s what can profitably be achieved.  To recycle further costs money and no one wants to pay.

A growing problem.

Achieving 75% recycling is great but still meant that 25% of a scrap car was going to landfill.  This 25% contained a mix of toxic substances, and other materials that could be reused.  The risk of environmental damage and the loss of potentially useful materials prompted the EU to act.

Forcing the pace of Car Recycling

After a long period of debate and discussion lasting many years, the European Commission introduced the End of Life Vehicle Directive (ELV Directive).  It aimed to deal with the vehicle abandonment problem, increase the amount of a car that is recycled and force the removal and control of hazardous substances.

Car manufacturer’s were given legal responsibility to ensure the aims of the new Directive could be met. This meant that the manufacturers had to use their expertise to design and build cars that were recyclable and make recycling arrangements for their cars at the end of their useful lives.

The Directive placed operational requirements on the scrap yards that carry out car recycling to make sure the handling and disposal of hazardous substances was carried out correctly.

In common with other EU member states, the UK must make sure that cars recycled today are on average recycled to 95%, up on the 85% required up to 2015.

This free website provides information on all aspects of car recycling, as well as providing comprehensive links to resources to learn more about the topic.