Car recycling:
performances up to and including 2018

“Well on the way to high-quality and responsible reuse and useful application”

Car recycling is doing well in the Netherlands. Since 1997, the industry has managed to put 85 per cent of the total weight of all scrap cars to good use. Since 2010, long before it became compulsory in Europe in 2015, we achieved that for over 95 per cent and since 2016 even for over 98 per cent. By continuing to work on optimisation, a completely circular economy is getting closer.

Two forms of reuse
When evaluating the recycling performances, we recognise two forms of reuse. The first is literally the ‘reuse of parts and materials’. This applies to vehicle parts, such as headlights, gearboxes and (starter) engines for the second-hand market. And also, reusable raw materials such as steel, glass and rubber. Thanks to innovative businesses, the latter get a second life as basic raw materials for new products through recycling and upcycling.

This category is by far the largest: in 2018 it accounted for 87.1 per cent of the total weight of all end-of-life vehicles processed through ARN.

Useful application
The second category consists of materials that are not reusable, but from which energy can be recovered through incineration, for instance. This category is called ‘useful application’. In 2018, this made up 11.3 per cent of the total weight of all end-of-life vehicles processed through ARN.

Only 1.6% to the dump

In 2018, a total of no less than 216000,000 kilos of materials and parts were reused and/or processed responsibly. Only a small proportion remained: there was no cost-effective new application for 1.6 per cent of the total weight that year. This residual amount went to the dump: a total of about 3,456000 kilos.

Slight increase annually
The graph illustrates how recycling figures have developed. The percentage of reuse and useful application has increased slightly almost every year between 2010 to 2016: from 95.3% in 2010 to 98.4% in 2018. This means The Netherlands meets the goals of the European end-of-life vehicle directive, which states that from 1 January 2015, 95 per cent of every car wreck must be reused or put to good use, of which at least 85 per cent through reuse and 10 per cent through energy recovery (useful application).

It is striking that the total recycling percentage suddenly jumped to over 95 per cent in 2010. This was a direct result of the new restrictions on dumping. Since then, a higher proportion of the non-reusable residual materials go to the incinerator for energy recovery.

Increasingly accurate separation
The disaggregated figures from 2015 also show the subdivision of the weight percentages that are reused by car dismantling companies, shredder companies and the Post Shredder Technology plant in Tiel, respectively. The figures illustrate the growing role of the specialised PST plant in recycling materials that are particularly difficult to recover. Accurate mechanical material separation, such as in Tiel, is one of the most significant factors for optimising efficiency, reducing the CO2 footprint of car dismantling and recycling and the aim to achieve a high standard of car recycling.