Find your number » Menu
[X] Close Form

What is your enquiry about? *

Our Blog

Vehicle Recycling Guide

What happens with large items like vehicles once they have been written off and are sent for destruction? Wilton Waste have put together a comprehensive guide to the car recycling process, so you can see what happens to your old cars. We will explore the journey an end-of-life vehicle undergoes once a certificate of destruction has been issued. 


What is vehicle recycling?

Vehicle recycling is when a car is dismantled because it can no longer run or should no longer be used because they are so bad for the environment. As cars are huge objects and as there are so many vehicles on the road, cars that reach the end of their lives must be managed responsibly and recycled. This prevents cars from emitting toxins into the earth’s environment when left to degrade, and so, to protect our natural resources, cars are broken down to be reused or recycled. 

Regulations about Certificates of Destruction 

Should your vehicle come to the end of its life, you should take it to an authorised treatment facility; you should not be charged for this if the vehicle is entirely intact. It’s important that you bring along the vehicle’s registration documentation with you. 

You could be charged if you’re missing the:

  • Engine
  • Gearbox
  • Transmission
  • Catalytic converter
  • If your car contains rubbish

Once you have taken your vehicle to the chosen authorised treatment facility and have handed over the car’s paperwork, you will be given a certificate of destruction (assuming you are the registered owner). The owners of the facility will then forward their copy of the certificate of destruction over to the National Vehicle and Driver File (this is so that they know your car has been officially written off and no longer in use). In just 10 days, your vehicle will then will go through the recycling process. 

The process of a vehicle being recycled:

  • Depollution – where all hazardous materials are removed. This includes oil, batteries, antifreeze, coolants, washer fluid and batteries. All of these are potential contaminants to the environment.
  • Dismantlement – recycling catalytic converters that are used in a car to reduce harmful emissions. The metals that are recycled from a catalytic converter can be used to make jewellery, electronics and pharmaceuticals. Car tyres, windshields and all other major parts that can be recycled are removed.
  •  Destruction – when there’s just a metal car shell, the casing is then destructed, meaning it will be compressed and sent to a metal mill. Here it will undergo three processes: magnetic separation (to separate any small bits of none-metals), detinning (this removes any old rust), and melting (so that it can be moulded repurposed).


The parts of a vehicle that are recycled:

  • The car will then be drained of any remaining fuel, oil or other liquids and the catalytic converter will be disconnected for recycling.
    (Old engine oil can be cleaned and reused by certified collection centres and auto shops will be able to recycle your car’s old oil filters)
  • Car dismantlers will remove tyres and batteries manually.
    (Car battery recycling is the most common part of a vehicle to be recycled, which is good because car batteries when irresponsibly disposed of can be toxic to the environment. Old tyres are melted into ground and railroad materials.)
  • For health and safety reasons the airbag will be activated and disassembled.
    (Airbags are used to make metal sheets and plastic pellets).
  • Parts of the car that’s left such as gearboxes and engines can be reused, and remaining steel can be taken apart, shredded and transported to a steel mill, a steel recycling centre.
    (Mechanics can rebuild damaged engines – which is an environmentally solution).
  • Rubber hoses, belts, chains, starters and alternators are removed.
    (They can be used again, recycled or remanufactured) 
  • Plastics (dashboards), fibers (seats, carpets) and sand (glass) are shredded. (Dashboards and other hard plastics are reused in iron production facilities, old seat and carpet fibres are used in sewage facilities and the sand particles can be used to create ornaments, tiles and fiberglass installations.)
  • Steel scraps can also be used to create more high-quality steel.
    (This is used to build new cars, bikes, our fizzy drinks cans and more!)


Green vehicle recycling

To ensure your end-of-life car undergoes proper green vehicle recycling treatment, the rest of its remains will be compacted, using car crushers or car shredders. Depending on the chosen method, the car will either be compressed or shredded into a manageable size, to lessen any transportation fees. Large electromagnets will be used to identify ferrous metals and collect them from the pile of shredded metal. Metals that aren’t picked up by the magnets (non ferrous) will be used to create new materials.


Want to know more about scrap car collection?

For more information about your nearest scrap yard to ensure responsible vehicle recycling or for general waste management and scrap metal recycling advice throughout Ireland, speak with your local professionals who will be able to guide you towards the right services. We offer cost-effective solutions for all of our customers and take pride in everything we do, so for a job well done, contact us today. 


By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, assist in our marketing efforts, and for personalised advertising.

More Information Accept All Cookies