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What happens to vehicles after they are scrapped?

10 January 2020

When a car has reached the end of its life, it needs to go to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) where it will be disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Did you know that between 1.6 and 2 million vehicles reach the end of their life in the UK each year? That’s a lot of scrap! The good news is that more than 75% of a car can be recycled, reducing the amout of energy used to create new materials and lowering air pollution by around 86%. Read on to discover the exiting processes behind recycling a vehicle!

The vehicle goes through depollution 

What depollution refers to is the process of safely removing all the nasty hazardous material and components, including screen wash, coolants, batteries, oil and fuel, in accordance with the Environmental Agency. It’s incredibly important to remove all these substances to stop them leaking out into the environment and damaging the ecology or creating an array of health problems.

The vehicle is dismantled 

Once the vehicle has been completely cleared of any hazardous substances, it’s ready to be taken apart and dismantled. As well as recycling the metal, glass and fabric, we will also take lots of other parts of the car that can be repurposed or melted down to be used again. For example, a catalytic converter, believe it or not, contains palladium, rhodium and platinum! These precious metals can be melted down and used for many different things, such as electronics, medicine products and even jewellery! 

Destroying the car is the final process

Once the vehicle has gone through decontamination and dismantling, it is really nothing more than a shell that needs to be disposed of. To do this, we separate the steel from other non-metal materials, remove the layer of tin (most vehicles have a very thin layer of tin to stop them rusting) and then place the remaining steel into a furnace to melt down and re-mould into sheets. Steel is a fantastic material as it can be recycled again and again without losing any of its strength. This means that potentially, your old car could be used to make your new one! 

Need to scrap your car? Find out how here!


W&S Recycling is a fully licensed Authorised Treatment Facility trusted by councils, business owners and private residents for the collection, storage and recycling of End of Life Vehicles (ELV). To learn more about our ELV services, please contact our friendly team today on 01202 675564

Branch Finder

Locate your nearest household waste centre and scrap yard using the list below. Unsure of where your waste needs to go? Contact our team and we'll be more than happy to help. For your local council charges visit the Oxford Council and Dorset For You websites.

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