Global Recycling Day on March 18th may have been dismissed as a gimmick just a decade ago, but now we are all painfully aware of the significance of this vital worldwide awareness day. CarTakeBack will use the day to give praise to the ATF industry, recognising its contribution to recycling and the positive impact that can have on the environment.
While we can use this date to personally and professionally reflect and revitalise our recycling activities, we also think ATFs deserve recognition for the huge advances made in the industry and the role they play in the global campaign as UK car recyclers.
Time and money have been invested into growing as a recycling industry. While there will always be improvements that can be made, ATFs have worked hard to grow successful businesses, at the same time as working within regulations to minimise the impact on the environment. Whether that is a result of making the environment a priority, or a by-product of a modern, professional operation, it should be celebrated.
CarTakeBack is proud of its achievement in hitting the government’s 95% recycling target two years early and consistently every year since.
Every vehicle recycled can make two massive contributions to protecting the environment, firstly by avoiding the production of new steel and other materials, and secondly avoiding materials ending up in landfill.
Saving energy and cutting carbon emissions
Cars are primarily manufactured from steel, either from recycled metal or mining. The latter process leads to huge amounts of energy consumption, far more than recycling, due to both the mining process itself and the need for blast-furnace smelting of the mined iron ore. Blast furnaces use fossil fuels and create massive amounts of carbon emissions as an unfortunate by-product, whereas the processing of recycled metal uses more efficient, lower emission smelting methods.
According to Greenfleet, recycling materials such as steel ‘can reduce emissions by about two tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of product.’
Reducing toxic substances, landfill and cutting greenhouse gases
The toxic substances such as oils found in vehicles and tyres and batteries, if left to deteriorate can mean that hazardous liquids can leak, causing environmental damage and endangering local wildlife and plants.
Landfills are full of items that could have been recycled and weren’t. The waste contains toxins that leach out, polluting our soil and groundwater. Not only this, but packed landfill sites mean organic materials are compacted, removing oxygen and causing them to produce methane when they break down – a greenhouse gas that’s impacting our environment.
By recycling vehicles in line with legislation, ATFs reduce the number of new metals and other materials needing to be produced and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Global Recycling Day’s stats are frightening reading. As a planet, we are using billions of tonnes of natural resources every year, so efficient recycling is not just a whim but an essential role in protecting our planet and future generations. Now referred to as the ‘Seventh Resource’, recyclables currently save over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions over twelve months. It’s exciting to think of our contribution as an industry to this figure and what we can all do to strive to be an even bigger part of the projected 1 billion tonnes by 2030.
ATFs are, of course, facing the challenge of recycling growing numbers of hybrid and electric vehicles. CarTakeBack, in partnership with BMRA, is providing training to any ATF on the safe recycling of EVs, to make sure the industry maintains its high recycling standards. CarTakeBack has established and effective routes in place to safely and compliantly collect and process batteries after they have been removed, to support both vehicle manufacturers and ATFs.
In fact, over several years now, CarTakeBack has been investing in training ATF staff in how to safely handle electric and hybrid vehicles at their end of life, and for some time now have had enough trained recyclers in the CarTakeBack network to provide a safe and effective end of life service for EVs to all parts of the UK.
CarTakeBack will continue to proactively support the safe handling and processing of electric ELVs and their batteries, with further training and awareness for ATFs when it is safe again to do so.
Ken Byng, Senior Manager at CarTakeBack, said:
“Global Recycling Day is undoubtedly important, and I am proud that we have remained at the forefront of the many positive developments our industry has seen in recycling. Changes have happened quickly, but with even more challenges on the horizon, we are ready to lead the way. I look forward to supporting our ATFs and other industry partners in these key areas over the next year so we can all continue to strive for this campaign’s ‘Recycling hero’ title.”