The auto industry always seems to be increasing the amount of recycled material used in each new model, and this might naturally lead you to wonder where the materials from your scrapped car go. After all, online scrapping companies can provide hefty cheques for those who want to scrap, so the raw materials must be useful, right?
What Happens to Your Car?
When you send your car to be scrapped, the first thing to happen is for all major components to be removed and inspected. Usually, only the scrap metals are recycled. Any other parts that can still be used after recycling are not scrapped. Even if your engine is worn out and your brake pads worn down to nothing, it could be that a vital engine component is healthy enough to be used in a rebuild. As well as taking apart your powertrain, technicians will salvage parts such as the radiator and condensers; these are very valuable thanks to their metal. Such parts are sometimes reused within the UK, but they are more commonly sent to India or Africa to repair the cars of people on a lower income than we enjoy here.
And it isn’t just the metal and the parts that get recycled. Automotive glass used to make your windscreen and windows can often be extracted whole and then recycled into other glass products. When you buy a fruit bowl or a wine glass in a year or two, it might be made from parts of your old windshield.
So, that accounts for the more valuable components and materials, but what about the shell of the car? The steel mills that once made Great Britain such an industrial powerhouse are no longer operating, but the metal can be sent to heavy industry sites in countries such as China and India. Most scrap metal ends up being shipped to these countries; in fact, scrap metal is one of the UK’s largest and most important exports.
Many items can be made from that recycled metal, including new vehicles. The metal you send to be recycled could well form part of your next new car.