Inside the scrap car business

How Does the Scrap Business Work?

At Scrap Car Comparison, we talk a lot about the pre-scrapping process; the steps you need to take to make money from your scrap car and sell it to a buyer. However, there’s a whole other side to the scrap business, the side focused on what happens to your car once it has been sold.

While we covered the practical aspects of that in our recent infographic, we wanted to take a look at the various crucial aspects of the scrap business that affect what happens to your scrap car after you have sold it.

Read on to discover more about the scrap business and how it works.

Stacks of broken and damaged cars awaiting scrap or repair

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act was brought into effect in 2013 to create accountability amongst all participants in the metal trade industry. It outlines rules and regulations that stop rogue or untrustworthy traders from selling stolen materials; the main change it brought about was to ban all cash payments for scrap metal.

Be aware that you should never accept a cash offer for a vehicle that is going to be dismantled and recycled, only BACS or a cheque, since a cash payment is not only more likely to come from an untrustworthy buyer, but is also illegal.

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Authorised Treatment Facilities

All cars going through the scrapping process need to be taken to an authorised government treatment facility in order to undergo the depollution process, according to legal guidelines. In this process, all parts of the car that can’t be used as scrap are removed, disposed of and recycled.

End of life vehicles (ELV) are most likely to be taken to this facility – in other words, your scrap car. According to the Health and Safety Executive, “every year two million vehicles will be processed to ensure that potential pollutants such as fuel, oils, brake fluids and other liquids are removed, collected and stored“.

In line with UK government targets, the recycling and recovery target for End of Life vehicles at Authorised Treatment Facilities is 95 per cent. Recycled materials include plastic, foam, textiles, wood, rubber and metal. These are often separated in shredders, and shredding residues burnt in an energy from waste incinerator, which also counts towards ATF recycling and recovery targets.

Since the scrap business produces a lot of waste, it’s very important that recycling targets are met throughout the depollution and scrapping process, so that materials can be safely disposed of or reused for other purposes.

The depollution process

All steps in the depollution process follow COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations, but three steps in this process carry higher risks due to the materials and extraction methods involved. They need to be highly risk assessed and controlled beyond regular health and safety measures; these steps can only be carried out at ATFs by qualified workers to ensure health and safety standards are retained within the scrap business.

Petrol recovery

The average vehicle processed at an ATF contains around 10 litres of fuel. This carries a health and safety risk of fire, so it’s important that fuel is extracted and drained in carefully controlled circumstances.

Oil recovery

Oils act as the life-blood of a vehicle, running through a number of different components, including the engine itself, the gearbox, differentials, power steering, brakes and the clutch. For that reason, extracting the oil can be a lengthy and complicated process. ATFs will follow the government’s guidelines on the process and remove oil from whichever components are present in the ELV.

Air bag detonation

Detonation of air bags and the removal of seat belt pretensioners can be a dangerous job, since the former could damage the worker’s hearing and the latter could lead to physical injury. Workers must identify the UN hazard classification of the airbags and seat belt pretensioners and remove them according to the guidelines presented. Some materials in this process could potentially be recycled, but others are considered explosives and need to be disposed with proper care.

Certificate of Destruction

Once an ELV has been scrapped, the last owner of the vehicle can receive a Certificate of Destruction. This certifies that the vehicle has been brought to an ATF, dismantled, depolluted, and the materials from the vehicle then recycled. The certificate also certifies that the vehicle was recycled in line with governmental guidelines, meaning that 95 per cent of the materials have been recycled.

There is no legal obligation to provide a COD to the last vehicle owner, but the certificate must be produced by the ATF when a vehicle has been depolluted and dismantled. You are entitled to request a copy should you wish to have one. However, only vehicles that have been scrapped will receive this certificate. From a recycling point of view, it isn’t always prudent to receive a COD since the vehicle may be a salvage vehicle instead of a scrap vehicle and would therefore return to the roads after repairs.

If you’re looking to scrap your car, look no further than Scrap Car Comparison. Simply enter your registration number and post code and we’ll tell you just how much your car is worth in the scrap industry. With our reputable network of buyers, we’ll be sure to find you the best deal.

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