11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Vehicles Recycling

auto-recyclingVehicle recycling is the dismantling of vehicles for spare parts. At the end of their useful life, vehicles have value as a source of spare parts and this has created a vehicle dismantling industry. The industry has various names for its business outlets including wrecking yard, auto dismantling yard, car spare parts supplier, and recently, auto or vehicle recycling. Vehicle recycling has always occurred to some degree but in recent years manufacturers have become involved in the process.

Recovery and Disposal of Vehicles Parts

Parts Reuse :  Accident damaged and end of life vehicles have many perfectly serviceable parts that can be removed and reused. The motor vehicle dismantling industry has been doing this for years and can provide such things as……
Doors, Bonnets, Wings, Bumpers, Headlamps, Rearlamps, Alternators, Starters, Electronic modules, Wiring, Relays , Gearboxes, Drive-shafts, Prop-shafts, Differentials, Engines, Cylinder Heads (to mention just a few) at great savings both to the environment and to customers.

As businesses have become both more professional and more sophisticated the uncertainty associated with buying recycled parts has disappeared. The advent of computers and internet linked parts locating systems has made finding the right part simple and modern freight services mean that next day delivery is now the norm.

The reuse of vehicle parts is going to be a significant factor in helping to achieve the 85% and 95% recovery targets set by the European End of Life Vehicles Directive.

Metals : Approximately 76% by weight of the average car is metal, most of which is comprised of sheet steel. The overall metal content of cars has declined rapidly during the past 20 years accompanied by an increase in the proportion of non-ferrous metals used in their manufacture, such as aluminium and magnesium. Currently about 98% of the metals in a car are recycled. These metals are recovered by the dismantling and metals recycling industries and are subsequently recycled by the steel industry and re-smelting plants in the production of new steel and secondary metals such as aluminium and copper.

Plastics : Plastics used in the car industry have risen considerably, where an average new car in 1984 contained 8.5% by weight of plastics a similar car today contains around 11%. Plastics are used for their distinctive qualities, such as impact and corrosion resistance, in addition to low weight and cost. Due to its lightweight properties, the use of plastics can lead to considerable energy savings, with a car weighing 1.3 tonnes without plastics consuming approximately an extra 1000 litres of fuel during its life compared to a car weighing 1.1 tonnes with plastic . Despite the relatively high recycling rate for ELVs, the proportion of plastics from ELVs being recycled is extremely low. One reason for this is the wide variety of polymer types used. Identification, by marking components at production or by improved sorting technologies, will be vital if the practice of recovering plastic parts is to become viable. One of the few plastic parts currently being recovered from ELVs is battery cases, accounting for 5,000 of the 14,000 tonnes of automotive plastics recycling in 1998. There is an estimated further 121,000 tonnes of automotive plastics which is currently landfilled.

The most common automotive plastics types are polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyurethane (PU) and polyvinylchloride (PVC). PP accounts for approximately 41% of all car plastics (common in bumpers, wheel arch liners and dashboards), and like PE and PU (most common in seat foam) it is easily recycled. Viable markets for PP, PE and PU from non-automotive sources already exist.

PVC makes up about 12% of the plastics content of an average 1990s European car. PVC, by contrast, is relatively difficult to recycle, and there are currently no large-scale recycling schemes operating for post-consumer PVC. Alternative disposal methods such as incineration have raised a number of environmental concerns including dioxin emission during incineration and the use of phthalate plasticisers, which are thought to be disrupters of hormone systems. Car manufacturers are currently looking for alternatives to PVC.

Vehicle Operating Fluids : This is one of the areas of greatest concern regarding motor vehicles. Although the disposal of fluids from ELVs is a major issue, the effects of inappropriate treatment of fluids removed during servicing are also significant. Increasing amounts of engine oil are being recovered and recycled however less than a third of waste oil produced by the DIY motorist is recycled. Lubricating oil has the greatest pollution potential.

Much of the waste oil collected for recovery in the UK is processed (by removing excess water and filtering out particulates) and used as a fuel burnt in heavy industry and power stations. However, stricter emission limits and fuel quality controls resulting from environmental legislation could mean a reduction in the amount of waste oil used in this way. The preferred option for lubricating oils is re-refining for reuse as a base lubricant, although this doesn’t currently occur on a large scale in the UK.

There are 1,500 Oil Recycling Bins in Britain for lubricating oil only. Call the Oil Care Campaign on 0800 66 33 66 or use the post code search on their website www.oilbankline.org.uk to find the location of you nearest oil bank.

Oil filters : When removed, oil filters can retain large amounts of oil and this may be discarded with the filter leading to further pollution. Vehicle dismantlers are required to remove oil filters. Oil can be recovered using special oil filter presses which squeeze out the oil and the remaining flattened metal filter can be recycled with other steel. Oil filter crushers are available for use on site at garages, although this is currently not common practice. Nevertheless, it is hoped that oil filter crushers will be increasingly introduced into civic amenity sites as an added service to the DIY car mechanic.

Catalytic Converters : Catalytic converters (‘cats’) have only been fitted as standard in new petrol injected-engine cars since 1992, so the business of their recovery is still developing. In the US, there is a well-established network of agents who collect the cats and a similar system is developing in the UK. The steel from the exhaust and the precious metals from the cat can be recovered when the cat is replaced. Platinum, rhodium and palladium can be recovered for reuse, either in new auto cats or for some other purpose, and as 68% of platinum and 90% of rhodium used in Western Europe go into the production of catalysts, this business is extremely viable. The ceramic casing is also recovered as a powder for refining.

Batteries : EC Directive 91/157/EEC requires the separate collection of certain batteries, including those containing more than 0.4% lead by weight, which includes vehicle lead acid batteries. There is a well-established system for the recovery of lead acid car batteries with many local authorities and garages having collection points. The recycling rate for car batteries is estimated to exceed 90%. However, a significant number of batteries are still not recovered and recycled (for example, many scrap cars still contain batteries when they are shredded). A revision of the existing battery legislation is currently being undertaken. EU proposals include a 70 - 100 % collection target for automotive lead acid batteries with a recycling target of 50 - 80%.

Secondary Restraint Systems : Secondary restraint systems used in vehicles consist of airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners. Air bags became standard components in UK-produced vehicles in 1993. Some air bags are only activated as a result of certain types of collisions, so occasionally the bag is undetonated and in the absence of manufacturers’ deployment instructions, a strict procedure should be followed in order to disarm the bag safely.

Glass : In 1999, ELV arisings reached 1.8 million. With glass constituting approximately 3% of a vehicles weight, in excess of 55,000 tonnes of automotive scrap glass were theoretically available for recycling. This figure is likely to be increasing with the rise in ELVs. Currently, in the UK the majority of ELV glass is sent to landfill and only a small proportion is recycled.

There are two types of glass used in the auto industry, toughened and laminated. Toughened glass is easy to remove from vehicles after shattering. Laminated glass, however, doesn’t shatter and will need to be removed manually, which is time-consuming. In addition, as the value of glass is relatively low (approximately £0.48 per ELV), it is currently not possible to recover the cost of removing glass.

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