How are Cars Recycled?

When a car has gotten to the end of its life, there are several options. Usually, the best option is to ship the car to a recycler. Industry experts refer to these recyclers as Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs).

There are many reasons why you may decide to scrap your car. Whether it is an unfortunate accident, old age, or engine failure, you are in the right place. We can help you arrange the recycling of your vehicle. 

This article is a guide to show the steps involved in recycling. The entire process is safe and environment friendly.

How Cars Are Recycled

At the end of a car’s life, it is taken to an Authorised Treatment Facility. At the facility, the car would undergo three stages; depollution, dismantlement, and destruction.

Depollution

At this stage, all hazardous parts of the car are removed safely. The Environmental Agency mandates this step. It is essential because, at the end of their lives, cars usually have parts that can harm the environment. 

Some of these parts include coolants, windscreen wash, antifreeze, batteries, and so on. These contaminants have to be disposed of carefully, so they do not harm humans or the environment. 

If these substances find their way into food or water systems, they could cause serious health issues. Therefore, their disposal has to be done by professionals.

After professionals have removed the pollutants, the cars are then passed on. Specialists receive cars and break them into units that can be reused. Tires are first shredded. They are then broken down into pellets that are used to make flooring for football pitches.

Car batteries are removed and sold as a whole. Batteries could also be sold in parts. The metals in the battery can be melted and reused after the ATF has been safely disposed of the neutralised acid and purified water. An ATF can only do this process. Only licensed specialists are allowed to dispose of and recycle hazardous substances.

During depollution, all of the vehicle’s fluids have to be drained. These fluids include all those that have been mentioned above. The liquids are then made to undergo filtration, reverse osmosis, and distillation. It makes the substances safe enough for disposal. 

After draining these fluids, their chambers are then flushed to remove all residues and remains from the vehicle.

Dismantlement

After removing the dangerous fluids, the vehicle is then dismantled. Dismantling involves removing parts and recycling them. Components that are removed for recycling include:

1. Glass

Glass is used in various ways and for multiple purposes. For this reason and its unique composition, it can be recycled and reused many times. Glass can be used for almost anything. Ornaments, tiles, spectacles are a few things that glass can be used for. Interestingly, glass can also be shredded to sand.

2. Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters are made with precious metals. These metals include Platinum Palladium, Rhodium, to mention a few. These metals, when removed, can be used in making pharmaceuticals, jewellery, and electronics.  

On the other hand, they can be used in making new catalytic converters. The ceramic interior of the converter is considered a dangerous waste. Therefore, recycling them has to be done by a professional, regardless of what they are to be used for.  

3. Car Tires

Finding a second use for car tires can be a bit difficult. If the tires are not worn, they can be fitted to a new vehicle. Alternatively, there are recent innovations on how to reuse them. They can be used on race tracks as roadbeds, track running material, or playground mulch.

Destruction 

Once dismantling is done, the next step is destruction. Destruction is carried out to the final detail. The shell and all that remains of the car is crushed. The remains of the vehicle are then sent to metal mills. Destroying a vehicle involves the following:

1. Magnetic Separation

At this stage, the metal parts of the car are separated from other reusable components like plastics. Since the majority of the car is metallic, this part is usually easy.

2. Detinning

Cars are usually covered by a thin layer of tin to prevent rusting. While this measure is useful for vehicles in use, it is useless during scrapping and recycling. The process of removing this tin is called detinning. 

The scraps are dropped in a hot solution of caustic soda to do so. The tin layer dissolves during the process and is then recovered from the solution. Recovery could be by electrolysis, evaporation, and crystallisation using sodium stannate, and so on.

3. Melting 

After detinning, the steel from the car is then moved into the furnace where they are melted. The melted steel is then poured into casters. From there, they are rolled up into entirely new flat sheets of steel. It can be done many times without reducing the strength of the steel. 

The new flat sheets can be reused in making construction materials like Rebar. Rebar is used for strengthening concrete structures and frame in construction. The steel sheets can also be used in manufacturing cars. 

Studies have shown that recycling steel is energy efficient this way. Compared with producing steel from iron ore, recycling uses 75% less energy. As of today, of all the metals produced in the world, 30% are recycled. 

In 2000, End of Live Vehicles Directive set a target to recycle 85% of end life vehicles. By meeting this target annually, recycling increased by 95% last year. 

ATFs by law in the UK is required to make the process of recycling end f life vehicles as simple as possible. Therefore, the entire process of disposing of an end of life vehicle is free. The owners are not to pay to have their vehicles removed. 

On the other hand, some companies purchase these vehicles and take them to the ATF. The companies might charge them for collecting scrap vehicles.    

Using our recycling service, you need not worry about any fees. We ensure that the entire process is easy and doesn’t cost you one bit. As against that, we pay you for the vehicle. We do not have any hidden fees or charges. 

Our buyers are spread across the country for easy access. The dates of collections are usually arranged for mutual convenience. 

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