Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling

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Adam Hewitt

Recycle Week – Can vs Car – The Ease of Recycling a Car Legally

Recycle Week - Can vs Car – The Ease of Recycling a Car LegallyRecycle Week is from the 23rd – 29th September 2019 and this year’s campaign: “Recycling. It’s in our hands” isn’t pulling any punches – taking its inspiration from the Extinction Rebellion protests and the activism of Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough. From a car recycling network that is dedicated to responsible recycling and has now diverted over 4.7 million tonnes from landfill we are completely behind this ‘call to action’.

While 2018 saw the public fully engage with recycling, arguably for the first time, with single use plastics causing uproar and sustainability being a word that seems to appear in every other sentence whatever the topic, we all still need to do more.

Recycling really is in our hands, and at home, while many improvements could still be made, it’s never been easier. Rinsing out that can and putting it in the right bin means the public can tick off their recycling responsibility. But are they? What about that tonne of metal, glass and plastic parked on the driveway?

Recycle Week’s theme is clear and simple – recycle and do it properly. It’s easy with a can. CarTakeBack make it just as simple for drivers to recycle their old car. As the UK’s largest network of Authorised Treatment Facilities, it now feels like our responsibility to make sure the public is informed enough to know that. They can take care of the cans, we can take care of their cars, it’s just dependent on them making the right decision on where to end their car’s life that will truly make a difference.

The CarTakeBack network has invested heavily in recycling technology and equipment and reached the 95% recycling target set by the EU two years early. We are ahead of the game but we’re not resting. Our goals are high, and they need to be. With 1.8 million cars scrapped every year in the UK, whilst we know a large proportion of those are responsibly recycled, sadly when the public don’t make the right choice of service for their end of life vehicle the damage is done.

Vehicle depollution must take place at an Authorised Treatment Facility that holds an environmental permit from the Environment Agency. But not all operators offering to scrap cars recycle responsibly – hazardous materials such as oils can end up in drains, and batteries and tyres in landfill – causing significant harm to the environment. Although establishing an accurate figure has always been notoriously difficult, an industry source suggests that as many as 300,000 ELVs could have been handled illegally last year.

So, the 2019 Recycle Week mantra: Rinse, Crush, Squash, Sort, Separate needs to apply to more than just the can in the kitchen for the country to really achieve significant recycling success. While there’s obviously much more to it, recycling a car properly actually fits pretty neatly into that process. Making sure people know it’s what we need to achieve for all items, whatever the size, is what is vital. Can and car!Recycle Week - Can vs Car – The Ease of Recycling a Car Legally

In the hands of CarTakeBack’s network, a vehicle is in effect rinsed by removing any hazardous fluids, reusable parts are removed along with the batteries and tyres, the vehicle is then crushed into a cube and delivered to a sophisticated shredding plant where it is squashed into the shredder, where the metal is then sorted and separated from the other materials such as plastic and glass, which we also recycle to meet the 95% target.

To find out more from CarTakeBack visit:


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management [e2e] is the UK’s only salvage and automotive recycling network with nationwide, environmentally compliant sites delivering performance resilience and service reliability to the insurance and fleet markets.  The network’s online salvage auction drives strong salvage resale values and faster sales.  e2e’s salvage clients have access to the network’s stocks of over 5 million quality graded, warranty assured reclaimed parts. 

The power of the network model means e2e has the ability to influence industry standards and is committed to continually raising the bar whilst redefining the role and perceived value of the salvage operator.  Network members adhere to robust service level agreements, against which they are audited, in order to ensure performance consistency and a market leading customer experience.  

The salvage and recycling operating environment is evolving rapidly, and e2e is anticipating, listening and responding to changing market needs.  Regulatory compliance, ESG, reclaimed parts, customer experience, EVs, new vehicle technologies, data and reputation risk are just some of many considerations linked to the procurement of salvage services.  e2e will drive further added value to clients and members through the adoption and application of emerging technologies, continuing to differentiate its proposition and position salvage services as a professional partnership. 

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