When you sell a car for scrap, you want to get paid as much money as possible. All of the Scrapi.com scrap yards are Authorised Treatment Facilities, which means they recycle and reuse as much or your car as possible. That means you get paid more! Our car and metal recyclers are licenced and trained, and will recycle your car safely, responsibly, and profitably for you.
for your car
The process of recycling cars
When you recycle your car for cash, it goes through a strict process to ensure that every part of it that can be reused is reused. Dangerous materials and liquids need to be disposed of safely. That means you should only sell your car for scrap to a licensed scrap yard and Authorised Treatment Facility that follows the correct vehicle recycling process.
Your car arrives as whole or as a shell
When you sell a car for scrap, a recovery team will come and collect from wherever it is parked. Whether it still drives safely, or it's failed its MOT, or even if it's a non-starter, it will be loaded onto the recovery vehicle and transported to the recycling yard. This is the start of the car recycling yard process, but it's also the point where you will get paid. Most people don't think about what happens to their car after this step and don't consider the laws and legislations that make car recycling such an involved process.
All of the fluids are removed
Once in the yard, all of the liquids that are in your old car will be carefully drained and removed. Those liquids can be very harmful to the environment, very capable of destroying soil health. They can also be dangerous for the team members or the general public, especially the flammable liquids or those that emit harmful fumes. Fuel is removed first, then oil, coolants, battery acid, brake fluid, and even the windscreen wash. All of these liquids are stored in containers before being treated by specialist waste disposal firms who will use various processes to recycle those liquids safely.
The wheels are removed
The next step is to remove the wheels and the tyres. These can be sold onto other drivers looking for replacements for the wheels, as long as they are in good condition. If not, then they will be melted down by the car recycling yards for reuse in other ways. Tyres are incredibly versatile and can continue to be of practical use in a wide variety of ways. If you see a swing at your local park with a tyre seat, it has usually come from a recycled car. In most cases, the rubber will be melted down and then reformed, and could be turned into caster wheels, rubber bands, or even car belts. Sometimes, the rubber will make up part of the road asphalt or finely ground to become the playground's flooring.
The catalytic converter is removed
One of the most valuable parts of your car when you sell it to a car recycling yard, the catalytic converter, is the next part to be removed. Not only is the catalytic convertor vital for reducing the number of harmful emissions that your old car produces, but it's also made from a variety of metals that are often more valuable than gold! The problem is that they can also be very dangerous, so they will always be removed before any car shredding takes place. They contain a ceramic interior, and that is considered to be a potential hazard when it is opened. Car recycling will always mean removing the catalytic converter before any thought is ever given to car metal recycling because it will need to be dismantled individually.
The battery and radiators are removed
It has been illegal to send a car battery to a landfill site in the UK since 2010, and all car recyclers will pay special attention to this part of the vehicle. That's because even after the liquids have been drained from it, there are still dangerous materials in engines, including acid traces and lead. Disposal of car batteries means removing those elements so that they can be reused safely. The auto recyclers will also remove the radiators, using different machine types to strip them down, depending on the radiator type. Both radiator and old car battery recycling is good value for scrap yards due to the variety of metals that can be refined and reused, which is why it's always recommended that you leave those parts in your car when selling it for scrap. Otherwise, you're just reducing the value of your car!
All airbags are deactivated electronically
The airbags in your old car are considered to be pyrotechnic devices, so they must be deactivated and removed before a car is shredded. This is a very specialist task, and the car recyclers handling the recycling of your car will need to have specialist training to manage the deactivation and safe removal of those airbags. As well as being a pyrotechnic device, airbags are also potentially hazardous because of the gases that are used to inflate them. Sodium azide is considered a hazardous gas, and it will react with the other gas in your airbag, potassium nitrate, to produce nitrogen gas. Deactivation and safe removal are essential before the different components are dismantled, separated, and recycled.
All other parts are sold to scrap metal recyclers
This step of the car recycling process will generally mean removing any remaining plastics that make up the vehicle. There's a lot of plastic used in cars, and it will all need to be removed before anything else can be done. Some ATFs will remove the plastics before moving onto the shredding of your car, while others will do the shredding first, depending on the type of equipment they are using. Your dashboard, bumpers, and light fittings are all taken out of the car, and they will then be melted down so that they can be used to make other plastic products. However, in some cases, those plastic parts will be sold to other motorists looking for replacement parts or garages that carry out auto repairs.
The car is shredded
Finally, the car will have its Certificate of Destruction issued and broken up in a shredder. This crushes the car beneath large hammer-like tools until the car has been broken into small parts that will pass through a grate and onto a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt will then pass beneath magnets to remove the steel while leaving any remaining plastics and non-ferrous metals to continue. Roughly 70% of a car is steel, so that will be removed and sent to a foundry, where it will be melted down and will usually be exported globally. Any foam, fabric, light plastic, or rubber will then be removed by hand and recycled separately. Your car has now been recycled!
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Why are vehicles recycled?
It used to be that when you sold a car to a scrap yard, they would simply remove as much as they could sell, and then the remaining car would be crushed and sent to a landfill site. The ELV Directive changed that process considerably.
The ELV Directive
When cars are sold for scrap, they are referred to as End of Life Vehicles (ELVs), and there are as much as 8 million tonnes of waste in Europe every year that is made up of ELVs. That's a lot of waste, and it needs to be disposed of and recycled safely to protect the environment. The ELV Directive lays out firm rules about the recycling, reusing, and recovery of the wide variety of materials that make up the average car, and it affects vehicle manufacturers as well. Those manufacturers are prohibited from using certain hazardous substances, including mercury, lead, and cadmium. According to the ELV Directive, 95% of every scrapped car must be recycled, although when it was first passed as legislation, that figure was 85%. In 2016, the 95% rule was updated, and that changed the scrap car trade as much as the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013.
The goals of the ELV Directive
As well as protecting the environment from being exposed to dangerous and long-lasting hazardous material, the secondary goal of the ELV Directive is to create more of a circular economy. By avoiding the use of single-use materials, not only can manufacturers cut their costs because they don't have to mine for raw materials, but it also means that that mining does not cause further environmental damage. The ELV Directive covers all makes and car models with up to nine seats and covers vans that weigh less than 3.5 tonnes. Whether you're selling your car as scrap because of its age or after a collision that's left it dangerous to drive and too expensive to repair, car recycling is now the law for all scrap yards.
Enforcing the ELV Directive
It is the UK's environment agencies that enforce the Directive in this country, and they monitor Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs). All of the Scrapi.com scrap yards are fully licensed ATFs and have been recognised by the Environment Agency under their strict regulations. Those regulations include the safe storage and treatment of all end of life vehicles and the de-pollution of all of the hazardous liquids and parts of a scrap car. End of life cars have to be reused and recycled as much as possible, and any components that can't be will have to be disposed of safely. In England and Wales, scrap cars are classified as hazardous waste (in Scotland, they are classified as 'special waste'). They will have to be depolluted thoroughly while being handled correctly.
Certificate of Destruction
The ATF you sell your old car to that will issue the Certificate of Destruction (CoD), and they will notify the DVLA that the car has been destroyed. The DVLA will then deregister the vehicle. Every car that has reached its end of life must be issued with a CoD, and the DVLA can only process them. The certificate is proof that your old car has been safely disposed of, and the ATF is legally required to issue a Certificate of Destruction once they have recycled and destroyed your car. You may not get given your CoD immediately, as the ATF may prefer to recycle the vehicle first. However, you should always notify the DVLA that you have sold your car for scrap by filling out section 9 of your V5C, although you can also do that online. Once done, you will no longer be considered responsible for that car.
Main elements of a car that can be recycled
It's not just the metal in your car that can be recycled and used again. From classic cars that have reached the end of their lives to more modern makes and models that are being scrapped after a collision, here are the main parts of your car that can be reused when you recycle your car for cash.
Plastics are a big problem for the environment for many reasons. Plastic, especially the types of plastic used in your dashboard, are not biodegradable, so if they are sent to a landfill site, they're going to sit there polluting the soil for a very long time. Controversy over the use of plastic continues to grow, which is just one of the reasons why car recycling yards will separate your dashboard plastic. Many will break it down using either a chop and wash process, which is when it is cleaned, ground down, and then melted to be used again. Some car recycling yards will use a chemical solution to melt down your dashboard plastic, but the results are largely the same. If we want to avoid single-use plastics to protect the environment, then recycling every piece of plastic in your car is essential. More than ever, car recycling yards are making sure that scrap car recycling involves rigorous attention being made to all of the different plastics in every vehicle.
The type of fabric used on the interior of your car will depend on the make and model. There are various fabric types available for motorists, including nylon fabric, faux vinyl fabric, PVC fabric, and vinyl fabric. The good news is that whatever kind of fabric is in your car, it can be recycled and reused. All of the different fabric types can be recycled and can be used again in various ways. A very common trend is to use that fabric for furniture making, but it is also growing more common to see it repurposed in the fashion world. Clothing manufacturers can use that material in your car, paying less money for those materials by buying straight from car recycling specialists. The vehicle manufacturer Ford has even run competitions among fashion designers where the aim is to make the most impressive clothing from recycled textile waste.
The windows in your car will be a little more difficult to recycle than the glass bottles that you throw into the recycling bin at home. This is because they will be coated in a thin layer of tough plastic called polyvinyl butyral (PVB) that helps to make it stronger and prevent it from shattering. However, car recycling yards will know how to remove that glass safely and will separate the protective plastics so that your car windows can be reused in the form of bottles or fibreglass. Once the PVB is separated, the glass in your car is just as adaptable as those glass bottles at home, and there are almost a countless number of uses it can be put to. Even artists have been known to use it! Car recyclers struggled to make car windows reusable, and often that old glass would just be sent to a landfill site. New technologies have made the separation from PVB much easier, and your old glass windows can now be used again and again.
Not a lot of people are aware of the fact that engine oil never runs out. The reason it needs to be replaced in your car is simply because it gets incredibly dirty! Car recyclers can filter and then clean your engine oil to be used again and again. Engine oil is a very hazardous pollutant, and it can cause serious harm to the soil and the habitats of local wildlife. Researchers have found that just a single litre of engine oil can contaminate over a million litres of water, so if the scrap yard that you sell your car to doesn't recycle it correctly then that oil will seep into the ground and into water sources. Used engine oil can also be used for alternative purposes and is commonly used as repurposed burner oil or as an additive in a wide range of manufactured products. It can even be used as mould oil, which is used to help remove pressed metals, plastics, and concrete from their design moulds.
It's the metal body that most people think about when they consider car recycling, but that's only a small percentage of the available metals in a vehicle. The steel that is used in the metal body of a car is around 25% recycled steel already, and it can all be reused again and again. Cars are the single most recycled metal product globally, mostly because millions of vehicles come to their end of life annually. The best thing about car metal recycling is that it reduces reliance on freshly mined steel ore, saving energy and lowering car production's environmental impact. While many new cars are made using recycled metal from your old car, it serves a wide range of alternative uses as well. Aeroplanes, train tracks, furniture, and even art are commonly built using your old car's metal body. It is one of the most environmentally positive aspects of car recycling.
It used to be that the tyres in your old car were hugely problematic. In most cases, they would simply be sent to a landfill, or (even worse) burnt. The pollution caused by burning tyres is enormous. It's also a waste of what is an incredibly valuable and versatile resource. Your old tyres can be used in a huge number of ways, and everything from garden mulch to running tracks can be made using those tyres. In the UK, it is now illegal to send whole tyres to a landfill site, and end of life tyres were banned across the whole EU as part of the EU Landfill Directive. In this country, we now have a 100% success rate when it comes to waste tyres. It is estimated that around one billion tyres reach their end of life every year, and that's a vast amount of material that can be used again. Some will even be re-treaded, remoulded, and then reused as brand-new vehicle tyres.
The catalytic converter is one of the most valuable components in your old car. It is one of the first car parts that's removed in the recycling process and will have to be recycled by a licenced Authorised Treatment Facility. Using specialist equipment and process, they will remove the precious metals that make up the catalytic converter, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Some of those metals are worth more than gold, and they can also be put to a wide range of uses. The metals in your 'cat' can be used in medicine, electrical component manufacturing, dentistry, and jewellery. So not only are there many uses for that metal, but it is also vastly more cost-effective and less harmful to the environment to use those car parts that can be recycled. Platinum ore needs a vast amount of energy to mine and intense chemical treatments, both of which create massive amounts of pollution. Recycling a catalytic converter isn't just profitable, but great for the earth too.
A single car seat made of leather can take as many as eight cowhides to make, and if we let those go to waste, then its money being thrown in the bin. That leather can be reused in many different ways and is very popular in the fashion industry. Clothing and accessory designers have been reusing leather car interiors for years. More priority is being made on identifying those end-users to expand the potential for recycled leather further. Not only is there a lot more value in reusing leather for handbags, wallets, bags, and coats, it's also a water saver. It is estimated that companies can save around 4000 litres of water for every handbag made from recycled leather and reduce around 82% in terms of energy use. Companies can turn those savings into cost reductions at the till, and that's great news for both the environment and the leather-buying public. Every year, more steps are taken to make more use of the car parts that can be recycled, and creative options are being discovered more than ever.
The battery in your old car is not the same as the ones on your TV remote. Lead acid batteries in cars are potentially very dangerous and recycling them requires a lot of safety processes and extensive training. Old car battery recycling means reducing the risks of letting the battery materials from leaking into the environment, and those materials are toxic, dangerous, and corrosive. Lead is a major component of your car battery, and that alone is highly toxic, with prolonged exposure to it the cause of some serious long-term health risks. Recycling car battery materials can be extensive, with as much as 90% of the components finding new life as a new battery. There's also the fact that old car battery recycling to make a brand-new battery uses significantly less energy than making ones from new. From the lead to the polypropylene to the gypsum, recycled car battery materials can also be used in the agricultural sector and as filler for washing powder and plasterboard!
Plastic parts and components
There are many different types of plastic in a modern car, with polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate, and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) still the most common. All of those different plastics will need to be separated before they can be recycled and reused safely. All recycling ATFs will have their own process for that separation, which may include flotation, size filters, magnetism, or even going through the plastic parts manually. Plastics of different polymer types will be matched and then melted down. Of course, plastic can be reused over and over again, in a huge number of ways. Some recycling yards will even melt down the plastic into specific shapes so that they can be immediately sold and used by different businesses such as those in the construction or manufacturing industries. Most yards will melt that plastic down and form it into small pellets that can then be sold on and melted down again to be moulded into whatever shape is needed by the buyer. If recycled plastic is bought by a food-related business, then there are some additional steps that need to be taken so that there is no risk of impurities that might affect food safety and quality. It’s for this reason that recycled plastic of high quality tends to be more expensive than low grade recycled plastic. So the recycled plastic used on a construction site is very different from the plastic bottle that you drink out of!
The target for recycling every end-of-life vehicle (ELV) is 95%, and any scrap yard that wants to gain an Authorised Treatment Facility licence must take steps to reach that target. Vehicle manufacturers and those that import vehicles have to play their part as well.
When a vehicle manufacturer makes a car, they have also to meet their own recycling targets. That means that they have to build a functioning network that makes it easier for scrap yard recyclers to send recycled materials back to the manufacturer where those materials can be used again to make new cars. The UK doesn't always hit that 95% recovery and recycling target, but this isn't because of a lack of focus. When we've missed that target, it's been due to changes in how cars are designed, especially the fact that many cars are heavier than they used to be even ten years ago. The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) has highlighted the average vehicle weight as a reason for a drop in targets being met. However, they also point out that many people who sell their cars for scrap are selling parts separately, such as the catalytic convertor. That means car recycling becomes a little more challenging when it comes to hitting targets.
The value of high recycling rates
When recycling cars contribute so much raw material to such a wide range of businesses and industries, it makes sense that we continue to prioritise car recycling as much as possible. There are growing challenges that make that 95% target harder to reach. Still, technology improvements that make it easier to separate and process plastics and composites that are taking the place of metal in cars are having a positive effect. ELVs now contain more challenging polymers, which has also been a cause of not hitting the required target. Electric vehicles and their unique batteries are also affecting recycling capability, although huge progress is being made in resolving those particular challenges.
The benefits of vehicle recycling
When you strip a car down and break up all of the recycled parts, there is a wide range of personal and global benefits. Many of those benefits are overlooked, but even on a global scale, those advantages might be better for you than you think.
Protects the environment
The obvious first advantage is that recycling cars is much better for the environment, especially with the modern technology and processes that minimize threats to the air and the soil around us. Recycling cars means less waste sent to a landfill, and fewer risks when it comes to hazardous materials being allowed to pollute the environment that we live in. For example, steel is one of your car's most common elements, and to make steel; it takes a lot of iron ore. By recycling car metals, there is less reliance on mining for that ore. When mining is so environmentally harmful, you are doing your part to protect the planet every time you sell your ELV to auto recyclers.
A series of studies have revealed that recycling creates as many as ten times more jobs than either incinerating waste or sending it to a landfill. End of life vehicles play a large part in the study, and car recycling means job creation in various ways. Rather than crushing a car and sending it to a landfill, there are jobs created to collect those old cars, break them down and processing them, and then deliver them right back into the supply chain. When manufacturers have access to cheaper materials, new businesses can start up with lower costs, and existing businesses can slash their expenses and afford to hire more people. According to another UN study, a more sustainable development initiative could create up to 60 million new jobs, and car recycling should remain a priority for everyone.
Boosts local economies
Scrap metal prices vary according to where you are in the country. That's because local scrap metal prices will be reliant on local demand. That's why areas seeing heavy investment, such as Glasgow and Manchester, will often have higher scrap metal prices than small, tourist-reliant locations like Bangor or Brighton. When you sell your car to car recycling yards, the result is that local businesses have access to the raw materials that they need, and that means more than a few benefits to the local economy. There's also the fact that when local councils send waste to a landfill, they have to pay a Landfill Tax, which comes out of the council budget. So, for every part of your car that's recycled, that means less tax being spent by your local authority, and more budget to spend on local improvements.
In the UK, we are blessed with an abundance of diverse wildlife, from the forests and coastal environments to the animals, birds, plants, and microorganisms that make life in Britain so splendid. That wildlife needs to be protected, and by recycling your car, you are helping to protect the natural beauty that is all around us. From air pollution that harms birds to soil pollution that destroys animal habitats, it's more important than ever that we prioritise animal protection and the diverse natural resources that the UK has an abundance of. Car recycling dramatically reduces pollution in various ways and improves both wildlife protection and our ability to enjoy and benefit from that wildlife.
You get more money
One of the main reasons to sell your car for scrap to an Authorised Treatment Facility is because they will always prioritise recycling. That means that you will get more value for your old car, whatever condition it's in. Even the most damaged wreck can be recycled and reused somehow, which means you get more cash by selling to car recyclers. From the metal, plastics, and rubbers that can be melted down and reused, to the working parts of your car that can be sold to other motorists, simply scrapping a car is never going to be as profitable as car recycling prices. So, if you want to get paid more for your old car, then selling it to Scrapi.com car recycling yards will always mean more cash in your bank account.
Reusing just the steel in your car will save up to 74% more energy than making new steel. When we're constantly being told to switch off lights and stop filling up the kettle, it's obviously clear that saving energy saves money, and that's only good news. Already, cars are one of the most effectively recycled products globally, and manufacturers use a lot less energy as a result. That means fewer expenses, faster growth, and all while limiting the waste of natural resources. Using energy creates carbon emissions too, so by recycling cars we can improve air quality and slow down the threat of global warming. Creating and mining for raw material is incredibly energy wasteful, and recycling cars reduces that waste drastically.
Car recycling rates or prices
The price you get for your old car will depend on many factors, but the most important will always be scrap metal. Those scrap metal prices will vary, but your car's profit will be very reliant on car metal recycling.
Ferrous scrap metal per tonne
These prices can change very quickly, depending on local and global demand. Car metal recycling is always more profitable than traditional disposal, so it's worth keeping an eye on scrap metal price changes.
Scrap metal prices by month
A lot will affect the current price of scrap metal, and prices will fluctuate from month to month. You'll often get more money for your old car simply by being aware of how much the car metal recycling yards are paying for that scrap this month.
Change date range
Last 12 month
MonthPrice per tonne
How does a recycled car live on?
With so many different materials and liquids in a car, your scrap vehicle will live on in a potentially massive number of ways. From the battery to the engine, here's how your old vehicle will be used long after you have been paid for it.
Car batteries will be used to make new batteries, and your oil will simply be cleaned and reused. However, parts of your car will need a little more work before they can be reused. The glass on your car window will need to be treated to get rid of the plastic coating that improves safety, but once that plastic has been removed, your windscreen and windows can be used in exactly the same ways as the recycled glass that you bin at home. It is cleaned, crushed, and then melted, and can live on as bottles and jars. It can also be used to create home insulation, which means your old car could help families save money on energy waste!
Car metal recycling
It takes lower temperatures to melt scrap metal than it does to melt ore metal, and that means many businesses are fighting for more access to the scrap metal in your old vehicle. Recycled metal is in huge demand by the transport sector, and vehicle manufacturers of all kinds very often use it. Your old car might get a second burst of life as a new car, or it might be used to build railway tracks or roads. There is no limit to how the metal in your car's body or engine can be used
Then there's the catalytic converter, which contains some of the most valuable metals in the world., The metals in your catalytic convertor can be extracted by professionals and used in electronics or in jewellery. So, selling your car to Scrapi.com could mean that your old MOT failure of a car is being used in a wedding ceremony!
Plastic and rubber
Your tyres will get a new life either by being melted down and remoulded into a brand-new tyres but might also be broken apart and turned into safety flooring at your local park. The plastic components in your car will also be broken down and then melted, and there is no end to the uses that recycled plastic can be used for. We're more aware than ever of the need to avoid single-use plastics. By recycling cars and all of the plastics in them, we are ensuring that we are limiting environmental pollution that can take generations to decompose.
Scrap car recycling FAQs
Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about recycling a car. If you have any questions not covered in this list, get in touch today about vehicle recycling. All of the Scrapi.com yards are Authorised Treatment Facilities, so you can sell confidently knowing that your old car will be recycled safely and responsibly.
How much will I get paid when I sell my scrap car for recycling?
That will depend on a variety of important factors. The price of scrap metal this month, the condition of your car, and whether it has the catalytic converter still attached will all play a part in determining the value of your old vehicle. Generally, you can expect to get between £90 and £300, but it can be higher or lower in some cases. It's never been easier to find out exactly how much you'll get paid to sell your car to vehicle recyclers. Simply head to our quotes calculator!
How much of my car will be sent to landfill?
In many cases, none of your car will be sent to a landfill site. By law, we have to aim for a recycling rate of 95%, meaning that everything from your engine oil to your dashboard plastic to your car windows will be processed, broken down, cleaned, and then reused. Our focus on car recycling means that we may even sell working parts of your car to other motorists, which means you could be saving your neighbours some money on improving their old cars too.
Can I still sell my car for recycling if I've lost my logbook?
The V5 form (also known as the logbook) is a vital document for any vehicle owner, but we know how easy it is to lose paperwork. It's legal to sell a car without a logbook, but it's always going to mean a smoother process if you contact the DVLA beforehand to get a replacement. At Scrapi.com, we can even do this on your behalf! If you want to sell your car to a vehicle recycling facility without the logbook, that's not a problem either, although it may mean a slight delay when it comes to paying you. That's because we have to wait for your replacement documents to come from the DVLA.
Are there parts of my car that can't be recycled?
There are surprisingly few parts of your vehicle that we can't recycle. Some potential toxins are present in some end-of-life cars that won't be reused and will have to be removed and sent to specialist processing plants where they can be treated and then disposed of safely.