scrap cars kent

What happens to my car when it’s scrapped?

If you are looking to scrap your car then you might be wondering what happens to it once it is scrapped. How does the buyer/scrap yard benefit from it? Where does the scrap go? In this post we will talk about this and why it’s a good idea to sell your scrap car with EKL SCRAP CAR COLLECTION.

Millions of cars are scrapped every year in the UK, and more and more are getting scrapped due to increased demand for more environmentally-friendly vehicles. The public is looking to get more eco-friendly vehicles like hybrids and electric vehicles. So now it’s a good time to scrap your car as supply issues with manufacturers make getting new parts harder, so getting parts from scrap vehicles is more in demand.

scrap cars kent

Where does car scrap go?

Nearly 85% of a car or vehicle can be salvaged and recycled. Car recycling is the process of depollution,  dismantling and destruction of a car. The process must be done by an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). Once a car has reached the end of it’s working life, it still can have a lot of use. A car may not be fit for the road but a lot of its parts can be of high value for many working in the scrap trade. The metal on the car can be shredded so it can be used again, 65% of a car is made from steel, with the remaining 35% being made up by other metals plus glass and other materials. Recycling helps the environment as creating new metals it’s much harder than recycling current ones. Around a quarter of the world’s steal is made up of recycled metal.

Much of the parts can be used within other vehicles or materials for construction. arts that can be reused such as engines and gearboxes are removed – these can be in high demand within the second-hand market. Then any parts which can be scrapped are recycled, this includes: metals, glass and rubber.

Once all of the individual parts are taken out to be reused you are left with the shell. This is then crushed and sent to various recycling centres for the metal content. Below is a breakdown of how most of the metal is used. (Source)

  1. Steel & Iron–  Approximately 60% of a passenger vehicle is made up of steel and iron. Steel resists bacterial growth, so recycled stainless steel is great for making surgical instruments, cutlery and kitchenware. Recycled steel can also be used within vehicles and construction materials and products.
  2. Copper – A soft metal which is cheap to recycle. Copper is a lightweight, durable metal that can be made into pots and pans for cooking, and can also be used within pipes and electrical wiring. Copper is a great conductor for electricity as it can conduct high heat.
  3. Aluminum – Recycling aluminum only takes 5% of the energy that would be needed to source new aluminum, so it’s a great metal to recycle. Recycled aluminum is typically used for the same products, including: cars and vans, wheels, engines, various kitchenware and high voltage power lines.
  4. Rubber – Disposing of tyres correctly is essential as they can emit dangerous fumes if handled irresponsibly. Recycling tyres is the best way to dispose of them. Old tyres can be recycled and used on the tarmac on roadbeds, racetracks and also children’s playgrounds.
  5. Glass – The great thing about glass is that it can be continuously reused, from windows to kitchenware, filtration, and tiles and can even be recycled and used within sand and concrete.

recycle scrap car

What is the scrap car recycling process?

There are strict guidelines when it comes to scrapping a car. Here’s exactly what is involved:


All hazardous materials and parts are safely removed. This step is important as this removes anything that could catch fire, or give off anything that could cause harm to anyone. This must always be the first step.


At this stage, the car or vehicle is dismantled and broken down into any parts that are usable. This might be removing parts that can be reused, such as gearboxes, wheels, and anything else. For example, a catalytic converter is a part of the vehicle that contains valuable, precious metals.


Once everything is removed that can be recycled or salvaged for parts the destruction process starts. This involves preparing the remaining metal shell for crushing and sending it to the metal mill for melting down. There are three steps in the destruction process:

  • Magnetic separation – separating the steel from the other recyclable parts of the vehicle
  • Detinning – the car removal of the thin layer of tin that covers the shell of a modern vehicle and prevents rusting.
  • Melting – The remaining steel body is melted down in a furnace and then rolled into sheets ready for re-use. Recycling steel uses less energy than producing new steel from ore, so is a very environmentally friendly way of creating steel ready for use in a wide range of processes, not just cars for manufacture.

What are the main parts that can be recycled?

You may not realise it, but even an old car can be recycled or salvaged in many different ways.

  • Metal body – melted ready for re-use for any manufacturing or construction process that requires steel
  • Interior fabric – shredded and re-used in home furnishings
  • Interior leather – recycled for use as handbags, belts of other clothing and accessories
  • Dashboard plastics – recycled and re-used as plastic bags, carpets, plastic furniture, or other plastic products
  • Tyres – recycled into pellets and used on artificial sports pitches or to surface children’s playgrounds
  • Batteries – the metal within car batteries, particularly cobalt, can be recycled
  • Catalytic convertor – numerous precious metals are used in the production of catalytic converters (which is why they can be the target of theft from regular vehicles), it is desirable to recycle these
  • Glass – the glass from car windows is removed, the laminate covering is separated from the glass, and the glass is then recycled and can be used on other glass products
  • Engine oil – can be re-used for fuel by container ships

Where can I scrap my car?

Here at Scrap my Car Essex Kent London we can valuate your scrap car, just call on 07482070672  or use our contact form here.

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