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What Happens to a Car After It's Been Scrapped?

Posted on 08/01/2018

We've talked about how to go about scrapping your car on our blog before – for a quick summary, you need to take any valuables out, sort out your paperwork, and bring it down to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) that has everything it needs to scrap it safely. But what happens next?

Pile of various cars in a scrapyard

It doesn't go straight into a car crusher the second you've gone – there are a few things we need to do first.

 

Depollution

There's no way around it – cars are full of pollutants of all kinds. These need to be removed and disposed of safely, both for the people working with the car, and for the environment. This includes…

The battery

This is one of the first things to come out. It can sometimes be repaired and re-sold – otherwise it's broken down into its various components (lead, plastic, etc.) to be recycled most effectively.

Tyres

The tyres will be removed – if they're in good condition, they can be re-used, but otherwise they'll need to be disposed of. A tyre fire is very bad for the environment, as is sending them to landfill, so the tyres (and any other rubber in your car) will likely be shredded so it can be re-used.

Draining liquids

Coolants, petrol, oils, lubricants, all the various fluids – these will be removed and stored in sealed tanks. They can often be recycled.

Hazardous metals

Lead and mercury are among the most common hazardous metals in your car – a lot of switches contain mercury, for example. These will be removed and isolated so they can be disposed of safely.

Glass and plastic

Window glass can be removed and re-used, often in the construction industry. Plastics can also be recycled more effectively, so these have to be removed separately too.

Everything else

You might be surprised at just how many parts of your car will need safe disposal at the end of their lives. Your airbags, for example, contain chemicals that could explode if they were still in the car when it was crushed.

 

Re-useable parts

Even the oldest cars might have a few bits and pieces with plenty of life left in them – and the right parts can fetch a high price.

If you know cars well, and are something of a hobbyist mechanic, it might be a good idea to safely remove anything you know would be of interest – particularly to anyone with a classic car.

However, be sure to check with the scrap yard you're taking the car to – they might not take a partially-disassembled car, so there might be a balancing act in what you take out and leave in to get the best deal.

If there's anything intact that can be re-used when you bring it to us, we'll take it out – reducing waste wherever possible is a really important part of what we do.

 

Let the crushing begin

Once everything harmful, or re-usable, has been taken out of your old set of wheels, it's time for the crushing. Your car might be flattened, or it might live on as a cube for a while – either way, these are easier shapes to transport to a shredder.

 

Recycling

Once shredded, the remaining metal can be more effectively sold on for recycling. And from there? Well, who knows what your old car may end up in!

Recycling metals uses so much less energy than creating new ones. Recycling aluminium uses 95% less energy, and recycling steel uses 60% less – so choosing to scrap your car in this way is the best thing for the environment.

You can find out more about scrapping your car here – otherwise, get in touch with us today to start your car's final journey!

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