Car recycling – how are cars actually disposed of??

Car recycling - how are cars actually disposed of??

In this article we will deal with the question: "how to dispose of a car?" – since the 70’s there are laws in germany, which prohibit the recycling prescribe. The disposal of cars is basically as follows five steps:

  1. Liquid materials are removed
  2. Recyclable car spare parts are removed for resale
  3. The car is pressed and shredded
  4. The shredded parts are sorted
  5. The sorted parts are then further processed

To 1.: liquids are removed

A car has many liquid substances. They must be removed before the actual car disposal. This is because car disposal is usually mechanical. D.H. things are shredded, pressed, sorted. If liquid substances are not removed from the outset, there is a risk that they will be disposed of further down the line car scrapping flow out. However, since most liquids in the car are unnatural mixtures, there is a risk of pollution here. Therefore, before any car recycling, the first thing to do is to pump out any form of liquid from the car or. Specially disposed.

Example engine oil

These include, for example, the engine oil. The engine oil is not only used for car scrapping emptied. The engine oil also has to be changed constantly beforehand. Therefore, almost all garages offer the oil change service. the oil must be disposed of before the car is recycled so that the oil can be disposed of in a controlled manner. At scrap yards, as well as in garages, there are special oil disposal devices. Here, the old oil is collected and taken specifically for recycling, where it can be reprocessed for reuse.

Example windshield water

Among the more non-toxic wastes is the water in the windshield water tanks. This is usually normal water with cleaning agent or. fragrances mixed.

Example coolant

Also, the engine water is pumped out or. Dripped. The water is used to cool the engine, which is why it is usually called cooling water. This is usually distilled water – d.H. Pure H2O without minerals, as it is the case for example in drinking water.

Among the riskiest liquid materials in the car, which must be emptied before it can be scrapped, is that

Example gasoline or. Diesel

S remaining gasoline or. The diesel still in the tank. This is also emptied with a pump. However, the gasoline cannot be used without further ado because it is contaminated. In order for the gasoline to be used, it must first pass through a filter in which the foreign matter is removed.

To 2.: recyclable car spare parts are removed for resale

A car consists of about 10.000 parts. The individual parts vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. There are no universal parts in a car. A significant factor for the resale of a spare part is its residual value. This is influenced by two main factors. On the one hand, there is the question of how much the spare part has been used up. If the part is too old and too worn, it no longer has a high residual value. On the other hand, the availability of a spare part also plays a major role. If a car manufacturer becomes insolvent and no longer produces, then the individual parts are usually only available at the car scrap yard. Therefore, the spare parts on the car are removed before the car scrapping tested for residual value.

The spare part that is most often removed before the car is scrapped is the catalytic converter. Rare metals are found in the catalytic converter.

The rims are also for car scrapping mostly not suitable.

What is almost always removed is the old airbag. The airbag contains explosives. That’s why you can’t scrap the airbag with the car. In the scrapping process, an explosion would cause great damage and possibly damage man or machine.

Once all the parts that have a residual value have been removed, the actual disposal can begin. All the other spare parts, which are not so valuable, remain in the car.

To 3.: the car is pressed and shredded

Not only the body is pressed, but the car as a whole with all the spare parts that have not been removed. The press has a practical reason: to facilitate transport. Since not every car scrapping has its own industrial shredder, the car must be prepared for transportation. The stronger the press, the more cars can be transported at the same time and the cheaper the transport will be.

In most cases, the discs are also among the spare parts, which are not so valuable and should therefore be disposed of as well. In the press the discs then burst.

The shredder crushes the car into very small pieces. In a smaller form, the remaining parts are much easier to recycle.

To 4.The shredded parts are sorted

The first sorting step directly after shredding is that a magnet is held to the shredded small parts. The smallest magnetic parts are collected and sorted out by this magnet. Everything that is magnetic, any form of steel or. iron is sorted out. These magnetic miniature parts are transported to the steel mill. There they are melted down and prepared for reuse. This is the bulk of a car.

In the further process, the shredded parts pass through various sorting mechanisms. At the end of the day everyone car scrapping 10 different materials:

  • steel
  • Aluminum
  • Plastic and rubber
  • Lint – from seat covers etc.
  • Metal and plastic
  • Small cables from car electronics
  • Heavy metals
  • Large plastic parts
  • Electrical components
  • Glass fragments and sand

To 5.The sorted parts are then further processed

The materials mentioned above are each further processed. Thus, each car that is scrapped in the car disposal is completely recycled into the raw material cycle or into the recycling process. Recycling reintroduced. That is why this process is called car recycling in technical jargon. We have also written a blog post where we explain the terms car disposal, car recycling and car scrapping differentiate between them and explain why the whole thing should actually be called vehicle recycling.

If you like, watch the short documentary on the car recycling process on youtube:


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