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


UK achieves 92.8%, missing ELV target for the third year in a row

According to European commission’s, Eurostat, the UK missed the 95% End of Life Vehicle (ELV) reuse, recycling and recovery target, achieving 92.8% in 2018, down by 1.3% in 2017.


UK achieves 92.8%, missing ELV target for the third year in a row p

Eurostat recently released data showing ELV – reuse, recycling and recovery totals for 2018 – the figures take approximately two years to gather.

There was a slight decrease in the volume of ELVs handled through the UKs official recording system for reuse/recycling and recovery. In 2017 the volume was 1,478,124 tonnes compared to 1,475,215 tonnes in 2018, a decrease of 2,909 tonnes.

The UK has had the highest reuse, recycling and recovery tonnage levels for the previous two years but France has taken their top spot with 1,617,676, an increase of 142,461 tonnes compared to the UK in 2018.

The total tonnage of waste vehicles recorded in the UK in 2017 was 1,570,909, whereas in 2018 the total was 1,589,882 tonnes, an increase of 18,973 tonnes.

UK ELV reuse, recycling and recovery (%) 2014 to 2018

UK achieves 92.8%, missing ELV target for the third year in a row p three

Although the UK did not achieve the overall recycling target of 95% in 2018, the recycling and reuse level of 85% was achieved with 85.2%. In tonnage, this equated to 1,354,008 tonnes in 2018 compared to 1,359,465 tonnes in 2017, a decrease of 5,457 tonnes.

A Defra spokesperson said:

“The UK’s end of life vehicle (ELV) reuse, recycling and recovery rate remains high, and has in fact improved almost 60% since 2015.

“As set out in our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are committed to driving recycling and recovery investment in the sector – and are considering whether links between target obligations and achievement are sufficiently robust.”

“The UK’s end of life vehicle (ELV) reuse, recycling and recovery rate remains high”

ELV reuse and recovery statistics 2018 (Eurostat)

UK achieves 92.8%, missing ELV target for the third year in a row p two

Since 2016, the Eurostat data for ELV reuse, recycling or recovery, recycling rate has been calculated against a vehicle base weight of 1,130 kg per vehicle compared to 971 kg before 2016, which is an increase of over 16%. This meant that the increased vehicle tonnage declared as reused, recycled or recovered which was entered into the system was nearly 60% higher in 2018 with 1,475,215 tonnes compared to 936,354 tonnes in 2015. Although positive in terms of recycling, the increased vehicle weights have made these targets harder to achieve since the change to the statistical average made in 2015.

Some factors to consider when looking at the difficulty in hitting the targets other than the increased vehicle weights can also be attributed to the fact that recycling markets for some shredder residue material, such as plastics are still tricky. Other challenges look at how bespoke energy from waste plants to handle waste from ELVs are limited, and landfill could be a cheaper option for residue. And another factor is data not being recorded properly when ELVs are handled outside of the formal ELV collection system, which is provided by vehicle manufacturers.

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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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