5 Reasons to Scrap Your Old Car

Filed in Blog by on June 3, 2020 0 Comments
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scrap carsWhen it comes to living a Zero Waste lifestyle, you might think the last thing you’d want to do is wave your old car off to a scrapyard – but actually, scrap yards are often misunderstood.

Believe it or not, thanks to EU regulations that have been gradually brought in since September 2000, virtually every part of a vehicle is now recovered, reused, and recycled.

In the UK alone, millions of cars are scrapped every year – but the materials they produce live-on in thousands of everyday products – from children’s toys and clothes to designer jewellery and kitchen utensils!

However, a car is a big purchase, so getting rid of one usually needs a bit of thought. We’ve put together five reasons that scrapping your old car could be a route you decide to explore:

1.  It’s good for the environment

If you’ve even been to a scrap yard – it probably didn’t look like the most environmentally conscious place – but don’t let looks deceive you.

Today, the UK leads the way in car recycling – with 96.9% of materials used to make a vehicle recovered and reused. There’s still some way to go before that figure hit’s 100% – but even as it stands, it puts Britain ahead of the EU’s 95% target and establishes our scrap vehicle handling process as being one of the most environmentally conscious in the world.

Nowadays, cars are not simply crushed and forgotten about. End of life vehicles (ELVs) go through a strict depollution process – before being dismantled, crushed, shredded, and sorted into materials that will be reused.

It’s not just plastics and metals that are reused either. Everything from tyres and engine oil to safety glass and airbags will be reused or recycled – and everything will be handled by qualified professionals working within the strict guidelines laid out in the government’s End of Life Vehicle Directive.

2.  It’s not being used

Now the prospect of your car going to a scrap yard looks more environmentally positive, perhaps the biggest reason for getting rid of your car is because it’s just not being used.

There are plenty of reasons this could be the case. For instance, you might have moved to a different house and no longer need a vehicle to get to work – or perhaps you’ve got a different role that means you can work from home. You might even find that as children grow up, they no longer need that lift to school.

For some people, a car is a must – but for many of us, it’s a luxury that could be replaced with public transport – or even a bike! In fact, the RAC tell us that the average car spends 80% of its time unused.

As we all know, running a car costs money – and many of those costs don’t change, even if the vehicle spends most of its life parked at the side of the road. New laws say that vehicles must be insured if they’re not being stored off the road – and of course, there’s tax, servicing and on-going MOTs to account for too.

If you grab a calculator and do the adding-up, you’ll be surprised quite how much it costs to simply have a car sitting there doing nothing.

3.  Increasing running costs

Even if you’ve looked at your running costs and decided keeping your old car represents reasonable value for now – it might not always be this way.

As cars age, the costs associated with keeping them can grow enormously.

Your annual MOT is perhaps the best example of this. The test itself usually costs between £30-£50 – but if your car fails, motor industry studies have found that the average repair cost is over £300.

Now, newer cars tend to have fewer faults – but when a car gets beyond 15 years old, you’re likely to see major components coming to the end of their expected life. You can quickly find that MOT repairs cost more than the value of the car – so it’s often a good time to part ways with your old car before it starts to represent a false economy. Take a look at the AA site for more details on car running costs.

4.  Scrapping saves a lot of hassle!

If you’ve ever sold a car, you’ll understand why so many sellers ask for “no timewasters” on their adverts!

Selling a car can be incredibly time-consuming. First, there’s taking pictures and listing it on websites. Then, there’s handling the questions that come in and potential visits to your home from strangers who are hoping for a bargain. Haggling over the price of a car tends to be the done thing too – so you can expect a slightly uncomfortable conversation if the buyer is interested.

Of course, it’s important to be very careful when you sell a car too. You’ll need to make sure the DVLA paperwork is tied up properly – otherwise, you could find yourself still legally responsible for a car long after it leaves you.

The hassle involved with selling an old car will probably bring a slightly better price than you’d expect from a scrapyard – but there’s probably not going to be much in it, so a neat and tidy sale to a registered dismantler often looks like the more appealing option. This is especially true since they’ll usually agree on a price upfront and collect the car shortly afterwards – no matter what condition it’s in.

5.  Every car is worth something to an ATF

Your old car might have seen better days – but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

No matter what condition it’s in, your old car is worth money to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF).

An ATF is a scrap yard that’s proved it handles scrap vehicles in line with government and Environment Agency regulations. Only ATFs can complete the DVLA approved destruction process – so it’s important to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable dismantler.

The good news is, thanks to the extensive recycling and reuse policies that these accredited scrap yards work within, they will be able to sell the materials recovered from your car back into manufacturing industries. This is great news for you – as it means money in your pocket – but it’s also great news for sustainable production processes too, as it generates a more circular economy with an enormously reduced emphasis on single-use products.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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