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End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Recycling

ELV - END-OF-LIFE VEHICLES (ELV) RECYCLING - RecyclingInside - Innovations and News

End-of-life vehicles (ELV) recycling is the systematic process of dismantling and recycling old, no-longer-operational automobiles. This eco-friendly practice recovers valuable materials like metals and plastics, reducing environmental impact and conserving resources while ensuring proper disposal of hazardous substances, contributing to a more sustainable automotive industry.

End-of-Life Vehicles are automotive products that have reached the end of their useful life. Their components are now considered waste and can only be discarded or used for recycling. End-of-life vehicles generate about 7-8 million tons of waste each year in the EU. ELVs may also be referred to as “junk vehicles” or “salvage vehicles”.

There are two categories of ELVs:

  • Natural ELVs which have reached the end of their life technically or economically
  • Premature ELVs which are new cars resulting from accident write-offs

When end-of-life vehicles are not adequately managed, they can cause environmental problems, losing millions of tonnes of materials. The Directive on end-of-life vehicles sets clear goals for ELVs and their components. It also prohibits hazardous substances when manufacturing new vehicles except in defined exemptions when there are no alternatives.

The ELV Directive sets clear goals for their reuse, recycling, and recovery and aims for the following:

  • Prevent waste from end-of-life vehicles and their components
  • Improve the environmental performance of all economic operators involved in the life-cycle of vehicles

The recycling flow of ELVs differs per country, but it turns out to be almost identical in many countries, regardless of a legislative management system. The recycling process for end-of-life vehicles typically involves several steps:

  1. Vehicle preparation: This includes removing any hazardous materials such as batteries, fluids, and tires.
  2. Shredding: The vehicle is shredded into small pieces using a giant shredder.
  3. Separation: The shredded pieces are separated into different materials such as metals, plastics, and glass.
  4. Recycling: The separated materials are then recycled into new products. For example, metals can be used to make new cars or appliances, plastics can be used to make new consumer goods, and glass can be used to make new bottles or jars.
  5. Disposal: Any remaining materials that can’t be recycled are disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Some of the specifics do differ per county; for example, in Japan, the collection of refrigerant gases and airbags is legally mandated. In the US, voluntary collection of mercury components is operated during the dismantling stage. In China, components collected at the dismantlers are often recycled as secondary products.


The parts that can’t be recycled can often be reused in a different capacity, meaning that with the exemplary service, essentially none of the unwanted vehicles will go to waste.

There are several parts in end-of-life vehicles that cannot be recycled, such as:

  1. Hazardous materials: These include batteries, fluids (such as oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid), and tires. These materials need to be removed and disposed of safely before the recycling process can begin.
  2. Certain types of plastics: Some plastics used in vehicles, such as PVC and ABS, may not be recyclable due to their chemical composition or contamination from other materials.
  3. Glass: Windshields and other glass parts may not be recyclable because they are laminated or tempered.
  4. Upholstery and carpets: These materials may not be recyclable due to their composition and contamination from other materials.
  5. Electronic parts: Many electronic parts, such as computers and navigation systems, may not be recyclable due to the complexity of the materials and the difficulty of recovering valuable metals.

The metal parts of cars produce a vast amount of recycled steel each year, which can be put back into manufacturing to increase efficiency. This not only helps reduce wastage and the need to mine for new steel, but it also costs less and helps keep the price of certain goods lower.

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Articles about End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Recycling

Experts for End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Recycling

Ankit Kalola, the General Manager of Fornnax Technology Pvt. Ltd, who has been an integral part of our team since May 2013, is an expert of shredding equipment and complete recycling solutions. Ankit’s academic excellence shines through his first-class B.Tech degree from Rajasthan Technical University. He possesses a wide range of skills including exceptional communication, Technical Knowledge in Shredding Field, Sales Strategies, Sales planning, Analytical process, CRM, Goal identification, Performance Management and Teamwork. His valuable assistance has propelled our business to new heights of achievement, particularly through the successful introduction of Fornnax’s recycling and shredding solutions in domestic and foreign markets. You can contact Mr. Ankit by phone +91-9033077711 or via email: for further questions.
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