Under the EU’s End of Life Vehicles Directive, manufacturers must provide take-back services for their old vehicles and recycle the key components. However, if the brand is no longer trading in the UK and no-one is willing to take the car, it becomes a so-called ‘orphan vehicle’.

To solve this problem, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has partnered with recycling company Autogreen to collect vehicles and recycle them responsibly – at no cost to the consumer.

The new take-back system will help ensure that the estimated 700,000 orphan vehicles still on British roads have a route to responsible disposal. 

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.”

Carmakers’ efforts

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, down from around a quarter a decade previously and representing a 90% reduction since 2000.

Earlier this week, edie covered the latest sustainability update from Jaguar Land Rover, which included a focus on the carmaker’s circular economy initiatives including aluminium recycling, 250 car take-back locations and reduced waste to landfill in manufacturing operations.

Last December edie also reported on an innovative new remanufacturing process developed by Ford which allowed it to reuse old engines that would otherwise be scrapped.

Brad Allen

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