Scrap Car Recycling

Posted on 17th Feb 2021 by CarTakeBack Posted in: In The Know

How to recycle a car

Car recycling isn’t something that many people consider, until they need to. Having your car recycled responsibly by an authorised scrap car recycling centre is vital, if you don’t, not only could you get fined, but you could also be damaging the environment. But what does an authorised car recycling service involve?

Cars don’t just get crushed into a cube! There are three important steps to recycling cars properly and reduce the impact they have on the environment:

  • To start with, any business handling scrap cars should have an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) permit – all CarTakeBack recycling centres hold one of these official licenses.
  • Every scrap car needs to undergo a thorough depollution process to remove all of the toxic materials, which must then be disposed of or recycled responsibly.
  • Finally, as much of the car as possible needs to be recycled to reduce landfill and meet best-practise standards recommended by the government.

Illustration of the car recycling process

The recycling process

Once a car has been checked over; with any contents removed and airbags detonated securely, it’s on to the depollution stage. Fluids such as fuel, brake fluid, even windscreen washer fluids, have to be safely removed from the vehicle, ensuring that no excess chemicals leak into the environment.

Parts that are in a good condition are salvaged for reuse, to get the maximum life out of them.

The car is now ready to be crushed, which is usually done to make vehicles more efficient to move onto the next stage of recycling. Cubed or crushed vehicles are safely transported to a specialist shredder plant to be processed into smaller pieces and then separated into metal, glass, plastics and fabrics. Each material is recycled and used by a wide variety of industries, including going back to car manufacturing!

Different coloured cars crushed into cubes stacked together

The leftover of that separation process, that can’t be recycled, becomes top cover for landfill. However, huge investment by CarTakeBack’s shareholders – in sophisticated post-shredder separation technologies – has massively reduced the amount of waste ending up as landfill. Our years of experience and ongoing investment will help to ensure any future recycling targets can be met – even taking into account developments in materials and technologies used in the manufacture of vehicles – and that the scrap car recycling process in Ireland is an exemplar for the industry.

Electric cars

As you might guess, there are some tricky additional steps needed to safely decommission a hybrid or electric vehicle compared to a standard petrol or diesel car! Not only do the high voltage batteries need to be safely disconnected and removed, but various other high voltage systems and powerful magnets also need to be carefully made safe before taking the rest of the car apart. This technology may seem quite normal to most of us as drivers, but due to years of use a car usually has before it’s considered ‘end-of-life’, the recycling of electric cars is relatively new to the scrap industry. At CarTakeBack we’re continually future-proofing our operation to make sure we can continue to offer the same high standards for dismantling and recycling electric and hybrid cars and vans as the traditional fuel cars we are experts in.

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