Orphan vehicle recycling scheme unveiled

The British automotive industry has committed to helping consumers recycle old vehicles whose brand may no longer sell in the UK with a free take-back service.

Under the End of Life Vehicles Directive, cars and vans up to 3.5-tonnes that reach the end of their lives must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.

But while manufacturers provide this service free of charge, some motorists can face difficulties if the brand is no longer trading and has no parent company. When this happens, the car or van becomes what is known as an ‘orphan vehicle’.

To meet this demand, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and recycling company Autogreen have announced a collaboration to ensure all unclaimed vehicles can be disposed of and recycled responsibly, and with no cost to consumers. Autogreen has committed to collect vehicles nationally.

The new take-back system will help ensure the estimated 700,000 orphan vehicles in Britain have a route to responsible disposal at no extra cost to consumers.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said, ‘This new partnership is further evidence of just how seriously UK vehicle manufacturers take their environmental responsibilities. The industry has a strong record, not just on recycling, but on emissions, energy and water usage reduction as a result of huge investments into innovative technologies, production processes and facilities.

‘Thanks to this latest initiative, every motorist in Britain can now be assured that when their vehicle reaches the end of its life it will be disposed of in a way that is not just ecologically sound, but cost-free – no matter where they live.’

Cars are already one of the most efficiently recycled consumer products, with manufacturers now tasked with recycling and recovering at least 95% of old vehicles.

Vehicle manufacturing plants are also following this trend, with less than 2% of their waste going to landfill in 2014, and a 90% reduction made overall since 2000. In the same period, energy and water usage have been cut, and ‘well to wheel’ CO2 emissions are down by 40.2% per vehicle produced.