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Recyling Advice

If you want to find out some recycling information, you’re in the right place!

Van and Car Recycling Information

At we work with a network of scrap yards to source parts for you. Our trusted van and car breaker’s yards dismantle vehicles and remove all the useful van/car parts for re-sale.

For those of you interested in a little bit of the history of where the parts and vehicles come from, here are some interesting facts on UK auto recycling and the UK vehicle industry … 

  • At the end of 2015, there were 36.5 million motor vehicles licensed to be used on the roads in Great Britain.
  • In 2015 there were about 3.21 million vehicles registered for the first time in Great Britain.
  • The composition of cars has been changing. The use of lighter, cheaper materials like plastic has increased while the use of ferrous metals (magnetic metals containing iron which are quite easily corroded i.e. steel) has decreased – although still used a lot in vehicle manufacturing.
  • In 2015 there were 29,963 new ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) registered for the first time in the United Kingdom – which was an increase on the previous year!
  • According to GOV.UK, every year between 1.6 and 2 million vehicles come to the end of their life in the UK alone. Although the vast majority of this number should be recycled or recovered, not all of them will be.

How to be greener as a vehicle owner (for more information, visit our drive smart page).

  • Instead of driving everywhere, walk, cycle or take public transport. Believe us, we know how tempting it can be to drive that 15 minute walk into town but just think of the environmental and health benefits.
  • Car share to reduce congestion, pollution and personal cost!
  • Drive at a speed of between 50mph and 60mph (where safe and legal, obviously!). This will help your tyres last longer and help save fuel as well.
  • Drive smoothly at a constant speed. Harsh acceleration and braking increase wear on the tyres and other vehicle parts – meaning these parts will need to be replaced and disposed of more often.
  • Make sure your tyre pressure is always at the recommended level. This will ensure even wear. Under-pressured tyres increase tyre wear, are generally dangerous and can lead to using more fuel than needed.
  • Change into a higher gear when possible.
  • Keep fuel efficiency in mind when buying a new van or car.

Recycling, recycling, recycling: how to be better as a vehicle owner

  • Buy retread tyres. These are old tyres which have had worn tread replaced, effectively making them good for reuse.
  • Don’t keep use your tyres if the tread is below the legal limit. It’s dangerous and tyres can’t be retreaded if they’re over-used.
  • Look out for products made from old tyres (recycling all the way!) Porous hosepipes, carpet underlay and pencil cases are all ingenious uses of scrapped tyres which have been recycled.
  • Start recycling your old oil and batteries at local authority recycling sites.

How to scrap vehicles in a safe and legal way (and which scrap yards to use)

  1. If you need to have your van or car scrapped, you can take it to a registered scrapyard. Make sure any scrapyards or vehicle dismantlers (aka van and car breaker’s yards) you take your car to are Authorised Treatment Facilities (this is a legal requirement). Find your local ATFs through GOV.UK.

    Alternatively, you can contact your local council. Many councils will collect your van/car (this could be for free or for a charge, potentially between £20-£50) although there might be a wait for collection!
  2. The dismantlers at the Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) will decide whether they are going to completely scrap the vehicle or whether they will repair it and sell it on.
  3. Most of the time you’ll be paid (woohoo!) for your van/car by the Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). It’s illegal to be paid in cash in England and Wales though so if a van or car breaker’s yard offers to do that, they’re probably not legit.
  4. You’ll need to let the DVLA know that your vehicle has been given for disposal to a motor trader (this will involve your V5 registration certificate).

    If the vehicle is a light van, car or 3-wheeled motor vehicle and is completely scrapped, you will also get a ‘certificate of destruction’ from the scrap dealer, who’ll pass the information to DVLA for the vehicle record to be closed. Without this, you could face a fine from the DVLA and still be responsible for tax and any fines given to the vehicle.

    You might want to make sure the DVLA are informed by completing the ‘scrapped’ box on the registration certificate as well.

Why should we care?

Not disposing of vehicles and their components properly can have horrible effects on the world we live in, one of the reasons it’s so important for your van/car to be properly scrapped by an authorised auto recycling facility which uses the correct auto recycling recovery processes.

Did you know that 1 litre of oil can contaminate 1 million litres of water? It harms wildlife and plants and can affect water treatment plants. If oil soaks into the ground, it can affect the soil. Oil vapours can make buildings unusable or even lead to them being demolished in extreme cases.

And what about tyres? Well, waste tyres can make landfill sites (now illegal for tyres!) unstable, damaging the liners which are supposed to prevent contamination of earth and water, and cause problems to do with future use and the chance of reclaiming the land. Tyres can also leach chemicals which may have harmful effects.

Auto recycling of parts and reclaiming materials from motor vehicles isn’t a new thing. Re-using or recycling metal parts has been a valuable industry for a while but now there are more and more parts which can be recycled, from the oil and its filter to plastic bumpers.

When a van or car reaches the end of its life, it is normally sold to a van or car breaker’s yard/vehicle dismantler (remember this has to be an Authorised Treatment Facility) to either be scrapped or repaired. The van and car breaker’s yard then removes any van/car parts that they can sell on to be re-used and depollute the vehicle (this involves removing all the potentially dangerous parts of the vehicle i.e. things like airbags, batteries, liquids, oils and parts containing dangerous metals). The hulk of the vehicle is then shredded and the materials of the car are separated out. Shredders are high capacity hammer mills which break the hulk of the vehicle into small parts. The materials are then separated through a variety of techniques. For example, ferrous metals are pulled out by magnetic separation and the non-ferrous metals are then separated from the plastic and glass and so on and so forth.  At the end of the process, there is still auto shredder residue (ASR) remaining (also known as auto fluff). It’s made up of plastics, rubber and other materials. Some of this can then be turned into recycled plastic or burnt in a way which recovers the energy i.e. by burning it as fuel to make cement.

It doesn’t have to be the end - end of vehicle life means the start of a new recycled life

The European Union End-of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive (2000/53/EC) was put in place to help tackle the 7-8 million tonnes of waste that is produced in the European Union each year from van and car waste. Aiming to reduce the amount of waste from end of life vehicles (ELVs), it first came into force in October 2000, and introduced the concept that EU member states should ensure extended producer responsibility. To help meet its targets, the directive gives responsibility to the following - major stakeholders, the car producer, the recycling industry, the last van or car owner and the authorities. All have different responsibilities for making sure that the following happens:

  • End of life vehicles (ELVs) are treated only by authorised dismantlers at suitable treatment facilities.
  • Producers are pushed to manufacture new vehicles without certain heavy metals (particularly mercury, cadmium, lead and hexavalent chromium).
  • The de-pollution of vehicles is carried out before they are recycled, including the extraction of petrol, diesel, brake fluid, engine oil, antifreeze, batteries, airbags, mercury-bearing components and catalysts.
  • Materials or components classified as a hazard should be coded so that they are easily identified by treatment facilities.
  • Information is available for all treatment organisations and consumers.
  • Targets are met; from 2015 they required that a minimum of 95% of end of life vehicles are re-used or recovered (including energy recovery) and 85% are re-used or recycled.
  • Vehicle producers are required to provide a free takeback scheme for End of Life Vehicles (ELVs), to ensure the environmentally friendly disposal of all vans and cars at no cost to the final vehicle owner. Yes, that means the motor manufacturers have to have a way for your van/car to be taken back for free and scrapped properly if you want it to. Hooray for free takeback!

Tyre recycling – let’s be wheely clear

It may surprise you to find out that in the UK alone we produce around 55 million waste tyres a year. If not properly recycled or disposed of that’s a lot of tyre waste, and it has to go somewhere. Some criminals charge people to illegally dump or export their tyres for them, either through fly tipping or burning the waste tyres. Not only is this extremely bad for the environment (burning tyres emits toxic smoke and pollution), it can also put the local community at risk of harm. Luckily there is some legislation in place to help keep the streets clean and the air fresh. Let’s explore it…

Don’t dump it

The EU Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) first became law in July 2001 and put in place steps to begin banning tyre waste from landfill sites. The directive has important guidance for waste disposal and handling and has now completely banned used tyres (with certain exceptions) from being disposed of in landfill sites - instead they must be reused, recycled or disposed of in another way. Helping to reduce negative effects on the environment one step at a time!

Take notice

The Environment Agency can serve something called a ‘stop notice’ to prevent illegal tyre activity. A company who receives one of these must comply with the notice which may include stopping them from taking any more waste tyres all together. Or removing their existing waste tyre stock to another authorised site.

Waste not, want not

The Waste Regulations 2011 (England and Wales) include a five-step Waste Management Hierarchy which includes guidance on dealing with waste tyres. Each step is ranked in order of environmental impact and sustainability. Check them out below:

  1. Prevention: Top priority is maximising the life of tyres, by choosing materials carefully and keeping them for longer.
  2. Preparing for re-use: For tyres this would mean re-treading and reusing tyres that are in good enough condition after they have been inspected properly.
  3. Recycling: Turning the waste tyres into a new product i.e. recovery use in road surfaces.
  4. Other recovery: Including energy recovery in cement kilns, through pyrolysis and drainage fill & sea defences.
  5. Disposal: The last priority (and least sustainable) is microwave treatment disposal of waste tyres, gasification or incineration.

Good-for-nothing to good-for-something

Have you seen what used tyres can be turned into? If in good condition they can be made into re-treads and put back on the road. But, if not, recycling can be a game-changer; they can be used for flooring, road surfaces, flood defences, furniture and even shoes. Who wouldn’t want their cars old trims to be their new kicks? Give us all the recycling please.

Still want to know more? Here are some handy contacts:

Useful links

The Oil Care Campaign (OCC) - Search by postcode for local oil recycling collection points.

Oil Care – Information on looking after oil well and disposing of it safely.

The Environment Agency (EA) - Information on the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive and the Agency's regulatory role (see the section entitled Waste).

European Metal Recycling - Scrap metal recycling.

Find an authorised vehicle scrapyard (GOV.UK).

TyreSafe – Information on tyre safety.

Giveacar – Donate old cars to raise money for charity

Trade associations/federations (general)

British Plastics Federation - Represents the interests of the plastics industry.

British Metals Recycling Association - Trade body for the metals recycling industry.

British Vehicle Salvage Federation - Represents the insurance industry-linked accident-damaged/repairable vehicle resale market.

CARE (Consortium for Automotive Recycling) - Initiative examining the technical and financial issues involved with ELV and material recycling.

Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association of Great Britain - Represents UK vehicle dismantlers.

Oil Recycling Association - Represents the interests of the oil recovery, recycling and re-use industries.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT) – Provides support and guidance to the UK Automotive industry.

Trade associations/federations (tyres)

The British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association – Supports manufacturers supplying the UK market in Europe.

European Tyre Recycling Association – Organisation representing the tyre and recycling industry in Europe.

Imported Tyre Manufacturers Association - Represents the interests of international tyre manufacturers.

National Tyre Distributors Association – Represents the interests of the tyre wholesale, distribution and retail sectors of the automotive aftermarket industry.

Retread Manufacturers Association – For details of retread manufacturers and suppliers.

Tyre Recovery Association – Aims to guarantee that all its members process tyres in an environmentally friendly way.

Tyre Industry Federation – Represents the interests of the tyre industry.

Services/ products

Hydrodec UK – specialises in the collection and recycling of waste oil and workshop waste collection services.

Credential Environmental – specialist waste management solutions including tyre reprocessing

Useful documents/further sources of information

End of Life Vehicles Directive (ELV) (2000/53/EC)

End of Life Vehicles: Guidance for Waste Sites (GOV.UK)

End of Life Vehicles Guidance for Authorised Treatment Facilities (GOV.UK)

End of Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005 (GOV.UK)

Used Tyre Recovery

The Landfill Directive: Regulations 2010 (England and Wales) (GOV.UK)

The Waste Hierarchy Guidance (GOV.UK)

EU Tyre Labelling Regulation Guidance (GOV.UK)

Vehicle Statistics (GOV.UK)

Vehicle Licensing Statistics (GOV.UK)

End of Life Vehicle Industry (HSE)

Vehicle Manufacturers and Importers: End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations Guidance (GOV.UK) has a network of trusted van and car breaker’s yards. These scrap yards strip scrapped vehicles for parts which can be reused and sell these parts for good prices (they’re all Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts). This stops good, solid parts being wasted and it means that people who need parts don’t have to spend a fortune buying new ones. Why throw away when you can reuse? They also sell new van and car spares. Our UK network of van and car breaker’s yards provide van parts, car parts, truck parts (okay, we could go on and on; they provide vehicle parts).

Compare quotes to get the best deal on parts for your van/car by using our PartFinder. It’s an awesome way to find spares for your vehicle without breaking the bank.