The car: a source of raw materials
ARN is making a strong case for recycling cars, or end of life vehicles, as efficiently and effectively as possible. It starts with re-using parts, a demand driven by the market itself. It is then important to check how the vehicle hulk can be recycled as raw material at the highest quality possible. These activities are paid from the €45.00 recycling fee which is charged at the purchase of every new car.
What does the vehicle consist of? What can we do with the material? How difficult is it to remove it? The answers to these questions lead to the current performance in the Netherlands, which is making us the front runner in Europe.
Recycling cars: the process
At the end of its life cycle, your car goes to the car dismantler. Approximately 230,000 end of life vehicles are dismantled annually in the Netherlands. At least 95% of an end-of-life car is recycled or recovered.
1. Vehicle dismantling company
When you turn in your old vehicle to an ARN vehicle dismantler, you are ensured it will be recycled in an environmentally responsible manner. After turning it in you receive a certificate of indemnification. The registration number is cancelled at RDW (Centre for Vehicle Technology and Information). Many parts of your vehicle such as the generator, starter and headlights can be re-used after being cleaned and, if necessary, overhauled. The parts are stored at the dismantling company and sold. Then the battery, all fluids and the tyres are removed from the vehicle. Specialist companies collect these materials and process them into raw materials for new products. Materials removed:
- Starter battery
2. Shredder company
The stripped end-of-life vehicles are sent to a shredder company, sometimes via interim traders, which recovers all metals for the metal-processing industry. The residue (shredder waste) is sent to the PST plant in Tiel for further processing.
3. PST plant
Post Shredder Technology (PST) is used in the PST plant to separate shredder waste for re-use in various ways. This results in 4 main raw material flows, which are used in various markets to make new products.
The PST plant is essential in achieving the last percentage points of the objective of 95% recycling and useful application. ARN has received a Life+ subsidy for the PST plant for this reason. The subsidy programme is intended for development and implementation of the European nature and environmental policy. Life+ has three pillars: nature and diversity; the environment and communication; and environmental policy and administration (governance). Vehicle recycling falls under the last pillar. ARN is the trendsetter: the PST plant serves as a demonstration project for other EU countries.
What materials does your car consist of?
In 2012 the average car weighed 1,022 kg, divided into the following materials:
- Metals 765 kg
- Iron 715 kg
- Aluminium 35 kg
- Copper 10 kg
- Other 5 kg
- Minerals (sand, rust, paint) 65 kg
- Plastic 55 kg
- Fibres 55 kg
- Glass 25 kg
- Tyres 30 kg
- Battery 13 kg
- Fluids 14.2 kg
- Oil 4.2 kg
- Fuel 5 kg
- Coolant 3.5 kg
- Brake fluid 0.4 kg
- Windshield wiper fluid 1.1 kg
A car produces an average of approximately 170 kg of shredder waste, which is divided into the following materials:
- Metals 11 kg
- Plastic 69 kg
- Fibres 34 kg
- Minerals 26 kg
- Other 8 kg
- Fabric 22 kg
Consumers pay a €45.00 recycling fee when they purchase a new car. With this fee, vehicle dismantling, collection, recycling and shredder companies, ARN AND the PST plant jointly ensure that more than 96% of the vehicle is recycled and usefully applied.