WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CAR IS SCRAPPED?
WHAT ARE END-OF-LIFE VEHICLES (ELV)?
Every year, over six million vehicles across Europe reach the end of their operating life and are treated as waste. Within the UK alone, 1.5 million motor vehicles are scrapped or dismantled annually. These are referred to as End-of-Life Vehicles or ELVs. These are motor vehicles that have been categorised as waste, generally due to age or accident.
ELVs are categorised as hazardous waste until chemicals, substances, materials and components that pose a risk to human and environmental health, are removed. This process is called ELV depollution and must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of strict ELV Regulations at Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs). After depollution, an ELV can then go on to be safely dismantled for resale parts, with other component metals, plastics and fibres separated, crushed, shredded and finally recycled. When end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are not properly managed, they not only cause environmental problems but the economy loses millions of tonnes of materials that could be reused. The automotive manufacturing industry is among the largest consumers of primary raw materials such as steel, aluminium, copper, and plastics, so it is important to for Governments encourage vehicle manufacturers to use as much recycled material as possible when producing new vehicles for the market. Recycling materials and then using them to make new products is less energy intensive than manufacturing from raw materials.
TYPES OF DEPOLLUTION
There are numerous destructive and non-destructive methods of removing hazardous components from a vehicle. The methods used are governed by the type, age, value and condition of the vehicle in question. Many newer or more lightly damaged vehicles are carefully processed using non-destructive methods in order to maximise the number and value of components removed for resale.
THE WORLD IS CHANGING
Additional considerations have to be made for Alternatively Powered Vehicles (APVs), such as electric and hybrid. These vehicles carry additional High Voltage (HV) hazards and therefore require non-destructive specialist HV battery processing and specialised training.
END-OF-LIFE VEHICLE CATEGORIES
All cars at some point will end up in a scrap yard. Age-related ELVs are those traditionally considered to be vehicles that have reached the end of their lifespan, whether due to age or reliability.
High Voltage ELV Hazards
EV and Hybrid vehicles have lithium batteries that store between 200 and 1000 volts. When these types of vehicle have sustained accident damage their high voltage components and lithium batteries can pose a serious risk to life and the environment.
ELV Dismantled for Parts
Newer, valuable or rarer vehicles are usually repaired and returned to the road. However, vehicles that have sustained heavy damage and cannot be economically repaired are usually dismantled and their parts resold.