What is car recycling?

Ever wondered what happens to old cars when they reach the end of their life? Scrapyards still exist, of course, but the process of disposal is a lot more involved than it used to be.

With over a million cars scrapped every year in the UK, we’ve taken a look at what’s involved in the recycling process. If your car’s on its last legs, use our car configurator to get the best deals off a brand new model. Vauxhall and MG are currently offering £2,000 off any new car when you scrap your old one meaning you can save even more.

How do they start the recycling process?

When a car’s taken to an authorised treatment facility, it’s issued with a Certificate of Destruction. This informs the DVLA of its scrappage, and means that you won’t be able to put the car back on the road. This is a very important step because, without a certificate, you’ll still officially own the car.

What next?

Once the car has a certificate, the treatment facility will start the process of ‘depollution’. This involves draining liquids like fuel, engine coolant, oil and brake fluid from the vehicle. These products can be extremely harmful to the environment, so it’s important they’re disposed of correctly. Other items such as the battery, airbags and catalytic converter are also removed.

What about the parts?

After undergoing the depollution process, all useful parts are taken off the car. This can include things from interior trim pieces to engine components, and everything in-between. This is how scrapyards make their money – if a part’s reusable, it’ll be kept and sold on. This is known as remanufacturing as opposed to recycling because the part can be used again rather than being melted down to create something new.

What happens to the remaining bodywork and trim?

This is where the true recycling begins – the unwanted metal remains will be broken up and crushed, ready to be recycled. They’ll then be sent to a special processing plant to be melted down and turned into something new. It’s a long process but, with over 80 per cent of a car being recyclable, the metal and plastic that’s recovered will go on to become all manner of things – maybe even a new car.

Save money on your next new car

Use our car configurator to see how much you could save with carwow. If you’re having trouble deciding which car is for you, our car chooser will help you pick one out from the 400+ on sale. Check out our deals page for the best savings currently on offer.

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