What happens to an end-of-life vehicle?
An end-of-life vehicle goes through quite a process: being dropped off, dismantled, shredded and the materials are then separated into potential new usage streams.
ARN works with more than two hundred chain partners who ensure sustainable recycling of scrap cars and batteries. The law prescribes that at least 95% of the car weight is recycled or recovered. In practice, that percentage even exceeds 98%.
When an end-of-life vehicle is dropped off at an ARN-affiliated car-dismantling company, the fluids are removed, after which dismantling can begin. Many parts of an end-of-life vehicle can easily be reused and given a second life, such as the gearbox, for example, or the starter motor or headlights. Once all the usable parts and the batteries have been removed, the shell is sent to a shredder company for further processing. ARN arranges transport from the car-dismantling company, ensuring compliance with the applicable environmental regulations.
Shredder en PST company
When the end-of-life vehicle shell arrives at an ARN-affiliated shredder company, it is shredded into small pieces of metal and residual materials. Recovered metals, such as copper, iron and aluminium, are passed on for use in the metalworking industry. Residual materials are sent to the PST (Post-Shredder Technology) company for processing. During various modules, minerals, plastics, fibres and residual metals are carefully separated so that they can be given new, gainful applications.
During the dismantling process, fluids are removed from the end-of-life vehicle in an environmentally friendly manner. These fluids include oil, engine coolant, windshield-washer detergent, power-steering fluid and brake fluid. These fluids are recycled by a specialised ARN partner, such as GS-Recycling. In this particular processing plant, which is just across the border in Germany, the oil is refined into a base oil from which lubricants, for example, can be produced. The drained engine coolant goes through a comparable process to produce pure glycol, from which new coolant can be made. After being recycled, the other fluids are also given a gainful use.
Automotive tyres are removed from end-of-life vehicles by the car-dismantling company, or breaker’s yards as they were sometimes known. If the tyres are still good, they are sold on for reuse. If not, they enter a specialised recycling process. They are taken to a tyre-storage container at the dismantling company. Then, as soon as this container is full, ARN arranges its collection by a company called Renewi. The container is then transported to a specialised company, such as Lintire or Granuband, where the tyres are processed into so-called monostreams: granulate, powder, nylon and steel wire. All these recovered raw materials are then channelled into new products, such as rubber tiles and mats for fitness centres and running tracks, filling for punchbags and reinforcement for safes.
Car windows from end-of-life vehicles are also separated for recycling. The windows can be removed manually by the car-dismantling company. Afterwards, with the help of ARN, they are sent to a recycling company, such as glass processor Maltha, which makes new glass products from them. Alternatively, the glass can be left in the vehicle shell that is sent to the shredder company, to be separated later in the PST factory. This type of recovered glass is mainly used in the construction industry.
The rapidly increasing number of electric and hybrid cars on our roads means that more and more of their batteries are having to be disposed of. Importers are mandatorily obliged to collect and recycle these batteries, but they have the option of outsourcing this responsibility to ARN. Special regulations apply to the processing of batteries. For more information, see the section on batteries.