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Journey of a Car Through the Recycling System

Posted on Categories Scrap
Journey of a Car Through the Recycling System

The mechanic has informed you that the cost to replace your gearbox is more than the value of your old car. In addition, it needs a new timing belt, brakes, and new tyres. At this point, it’s just not worth putting more money into it, and it’s time to recycle.

Every year in Britain approximately two million old cars and vans are scrapped. Recycling a vehicle includes many steps that ensure that it is destroyed properly and in an environmentally friendly way. This includes disassembling and using parts for other purposes. This not only helps the environment but can provide you with a small profit.

So how does one go about recycling an old car that is way past its prime? And what happens to it? Let’s have a look.

Environmental Laws

The EU has recently introduced the End of Life Vehicle Directive, which includes strict environmental rules on how cars should be disposed of.

These new rules were designed to combat copper and other metal theft and protect the environment.

Trustworthy Recycling Sites

Under the EU directive, the car manufacturers are responsible for ensuring vehicles are recycled properly. Cars should also be disposed of for free. There are dozens of companies that will come to your home and offer payment for your vehicle. But which ones are reputable?

If they offer to pay you cash, they are not trustworthy. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act, introduced to combat copper metal theft, states that it is illegal for anyone to pay cash for scrap cars.

They should instead offer to pay by cheque or make a payment directly into your bank account. You are required to give proof of identification, such as your driving license or passport.

Feel free to shop around for the best offer, but most trustworthy recycling sites will offer similar ranges.

Scrap dealers are legally required to send your car to an Authorised Treatment Facility that has a license issued by the Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

This ensures that scrapped vehicles don’t harm the environment and that they are recycled appropriately.

Let the DVLA and Your Insurance Company Know

Once you’ve sold your vehicle, follow the instructions on your V5 ownership document. Then send in the signed part to the DVLA to let them know you no longer own the vehicle.

At this point, you are no longer responsible for the vehicle. You will also receive a Certificate of Destruction from the scrap dealer.

You should also let your insurance company know right away that you’ve recycled the car. However, if you’re purchasing a new car, then there’s no need to let your insurance lapse.

The Recycling Process–First Steps

After a vehicle is sold to a recycling center, the first thing that happens is the manual removal of tyres and car batteries. Next, all fuel, oil and other liquids are safely drained and properly discarded.

The catalytic converters and batteries are removed and recycled.

The airbag system cannot be reused, for safety reason. They are instead triggered and disassembled.

Spare Parts

Many parts of an old car can be reused as spares. Sometimes these pre-used car parts are only stored for reuse if they are in good working condition and there is demand for them in the open market.

Often car engines can be re-manufactured to a brand new standard if that model is in demand.

Most of the time steel car parts, such as gearboxes and engines, are dismantled and shredded. The ferrous metal material that is recovered after dismantling is sent to steel mills for use as ferrous scrap input.

This recycled steel can also be used to make new cars, bicycles, and metal cans.

Remaining Car Compacted and Shredded

The final old car remains are compacted in order to lower transport costs.

Shredders crush the cars and break them down into small pieces. After shredding, the remains are sifted by using magnets. The magnets select out iron, steel, and other ferrous metals from the rest of the shredded material.

The remaining debris is still useful. This material can be used to produce new materials for many different applications.

At one time these materials ended up in landfills. But now, with new recycling technology, this material can be separated and sorted, leaving little to no remains added to landfills.

The final three separated products are hard plastics, fibres, and sand. The hard plastics come from the car dashboard and its other interior components. The fabric comes from the carpets and seat cushions.

The sand is the result of paint particles, glass, and other fine particles.

Uses for Separated Products

There are many uses for the leftover materials. Hard plastics can be used as reducing agents in iron production plants. The granules can be added into molten iron ore to help eliminate oxygen to produce quality iron.

The shredder fibres can be used in sewage treatment plants. These fibres can be added into sewage sludge to help it solidify. The fibres are a good alternative to coal.

Old Car, New Tricks

Recycling a car, van or any other vehicle can benefits you financially, as well as help the environment.

Reusing materials rather than adding to a landfill site is a win-win situation.

Click for more tips on increasing the value of your scrap old car, or contact us for an estimate.