Scrap Car Recycling

Posted on 8th Jun 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 a reputable business is vital, if you don’t, you could be damaging the environment. But what does a responsible car recycling service involve?

Cars don’t just get crushed into a cube! Every scrap car should first undergo a thorough depollution process to remove all of the toxic materials, which will then be disposed of or recycled. Then, as much of the car as possible is recycled to reduce landfill and meet best-practise standards.

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, oil, brake fluid, even windscreen wash, 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. The cubed or crushed vehicles are safely transported to a specialist shredder plant, which will process them into smaller pieces.

Those smaller pieces are then separated into metal, glass, plastics and fabrics.

Each material is recycled by a specialist in that area 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, goes to landfill.

Recycling electric cars

As you might guess, there are some tricky additional steps needed to safely decommission a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) 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. While EV technology may seem quite normal to most of us as drivers, 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 already several years into our global work related to EV end-of-life processing and here in Australia we continue to advise dismantlers on how to safely handle EV batteries. This means, today, we can provide a safe and effective EV recycling service to Australia.

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