Car disposal and recycling

Approximately 70% of the adults in the UK have a driver’s licence and hit the road on a daily basis. However, with cars having an average lifespan of 5-10 years, it’s hardly surprising that we produce large volumes of ‘car waste’ each year. In fact, a recent study found that one million cars are scrapped in the UK each year – which doesn’t take into consideration the waste that comes with running the vehicle, such as fuel waste. However, the issue with car disposal is the fact that you cannot stick it alongside the rest of your waste and wait for the council to collect it.

car disposal and recycling

What type of waste are cars?

Cars are often considered to be a form of automotive waste. However, when cars are being disposed of – they are usually broken down into separate parts, which fall under different waste categories. For example, car fuel is classified as a form of waste oil, which must be handled carefully due to the hazardous nature of the product. Alternatively, the body or the frame of the car is often classified as metal waste.

Who invented cars?

Karl Benz invented the first car in 1886. While he had already been working on the Benz Patent-Motorwagen for some years before this, the patent was awarded in this year, and the car was introduced to the market. However, as these vehicles were costly, they were not as easily accessible as they are now. The first car that was considered accessible by modern standards was Ford’s Model T (1908). Right now, there are well over 400 different makes of cars and vehicles available to the everyday consumer, with innovations meaning that the list is seemingly ever-growing.

What are cars made from, and how are they made?

What materials are they made from?

As mentioned previously, cars are made from many different parts. For example, the car’s main body is made from a strong, durable metal – typically steel. Tyres are made from both natural rubber and synthetic rubber (made from plastic polymers), and windows and windshields are made from either tempered or laminated glass to reduce the chances of them breaking accidentally. According to a recent report, around 86% of the materials used to make cars can be recycled once the vehicle is no longer considered road-worthy.

How are cars made?

The process of making cars can be rather complex and varies depending on the make or model. However, it usually looks something similar to this:

The car’s base is created on an assembly line and is constructed from the bottom of the vehicle moving upwards. For example, once the base of the car has been laid out, elements such as gearboxes and breaks are added.

The engine and batteries are created and tested before then being installed.

The shell of the vehicle is then attached to the base. Following this, external features such as doors and boots are attached to the car.

The cars are then painted using water-based acrylic enamel paint. This is specifically designed to be long-lasting and resistant to all types of weather.

Once the exterior of the car is completed, then it is time to focus on the interior. Anything that requires wiring is dealt with first, such as interior lights and radios. Following this, seats are installed.

Finally, windows and windshields are carefully installed.

Car disposal

How to dispose of cars?

The average driver may be a little unsure what they should do with their old car when it’s time to purchase a new one. However, there are various options available to you. For example, you can arrange for your vehicle to be collected by a scrap dealer, who will salvage any reusable parts and ensure they do not end up at a landfill site. Conversely, you may be able to drop them off at the car dealership where you first purchased the vehicle from. However, if you own a garage or car dealership – you will need to ensure that your waste is collected by a licensed carrier with experience in disposing of automotive vehicles. After all, it’s not as though you can store them in your regular recycling bins.

What happens to cars after they have been thrown away?

When cars are taken to the appropriate recycling facility, they are taken apart, and each section of the vehicle is disposed of in a slightly different way. For example, car batteries must be handled with particular care. They are first dissected into different parts, such as lead, silver and acid. From this, the acid is carefully neutralised, and other products are prepared for reuse. Additionally, scrap metal – such as the body of the car alongside rims and handles, are melted at high temperatures and can then be reintroduced to the manufacturing process.

Alternatives to Cars

What are some eco-friendly alternatives to cars?

According to a recent report, approximately 27% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cars. As a result, many schemes encourage drivers to consider more eco-friendly modes of travel, such as utilising public transport or cycling. Additionally, electric vehicles are far more sustainable, and it is predicted that by 2050, most cars available on the market will be fully electric.

Can you do anything with cars instead of throwing them away?

If your car is in good shape, there are various alternatives for you to consider before disposing of them. For example, you could resell your vehicle or donate it to a local charity. Alternatively, you may also be able to return the car to the manufacturer or to the garage where you are purchasing your new vehicle. Alternatively, you may also want to consider whether or not your car can be repaired and given a new lease for life – as in some cases, an entirely new vehicle is not necessary.

What are the costs associated with recycling and disposing of cars?

If you are getting rid of your personal car, you can usually arrange for this to be collected for free by a scrap dealer. However, businesses producing large volumes of car and automotive waste must be prepared to cover the cost of their safe disposal. Thankfully, at BusinessWaste, our years of experience in the industry means that we’re able to dispose of all manner of waste at a low cost. We’ll even complete a waste audit on your behalf, helping you to cut costs and reduce your overall waste at the same time.


How many Cars are there?

In 2019, 1.3 million cars and 78,000 commercial vehicles were built in the UK alone.

How many cars are there in landfills?

It’s estimated that around 35% of cars end up in landfills, even though they can easily be recycled.

Facts About Cars.

Steel is an excellent material choice for any product because it can be recycled endlessly without losing its original qualities. Furthermore, recycling just one tonne of steel saves 2,500 pounds of iron, 1,400 pounds of coal and around 120 pounds of limestone.

The automotive industry as a whole has reduced landfill waste by around 90% since the early 2000s.

Where can you take cars to recycle/dispose of them for free?

There are various steps you can take to recycle or dispose of cars for free. For example, you could donate your old vehicle to charities such as Give A Car, which work to reduce car waste by repairing cars and giving them to those who need them.

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