In this lesson, we’ll delve into the essential infrastructure required for the efficient and sustainable recycling of end-of-life vehicles.

Importance of a Comprehensive Approach

  • Economic improvements in vehicle recycling demand a holistic approach.
  • Collaboration among stakeholders is vital to harmonize processes, quality control, and scientific support.
  • Adherence to international and local regulations and market needs is crucial.

The 3R and 5R Concepts

  • End-of-life vehicle recycling is often referred to as the “3R” concept: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  • The first “R” focuses on waste reduction, extending vehicle life, saving raw materials, and reducing energy.
  • The second “R” involves reusing parts and assemblies in other vehicles.
  • The third “R” transforms vehicle components into raw materials.
  • Toyota introduced the “5R” concept, adding material cleaning and energy recovery to reduce deposited materials by 20-25%.

End-of-Life Vehicle Lifecycle

  • Vehicles reach their end of life typically after 12-15 years.
  • Dismantling companies salvage working parts, selling them in the used parts market.
  • Processing companies shred vehicles, separating ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
  • About 20-25% of the vehicle’s weight remains as a challenge in recycling.

The Global Vehicle Recycling Chain

  • The vehicle recycling process spans from the manufacturer to disposal.
  • The last owner initiates the cycle.
  • Deregistered vehicles are delivered to used car dealers, collection companies, or dismantlers, depending on local regulations.

Recycling Infrastructure

  • Vehicle recycling infrastructure consists of various elements, including processes, material flows, and economic parameters.
  • Key elements in the processing of end-of-life vehicles are clearly identified.
  • Products representing income (dismantling components and scrap metal) and costs (cutting residues) are highlighted.

1 Handling Cutting Residues

  • Cutting residues can be recycled/recovered or disposed of on landfills.
  • Pyrolysis and other treatments can increase recyclability and recovery rates.
  • Different companies have varying capabilities and capacities in handling end-of-life vehicles.

Factors Influencing Recycling Technologies

  • Choice of recycling technologies depends on price, amount, type, quality, and location of landfills and recycling facilities.
  • Vehicle recycling involves multiple materials, making it a complex process.
  • Recycling proceeds through six main phases: handing over, draining fluids, dismantling, shredding, separation, and processing.

2 Dismantling and Fluid Draining

  • After deregistration, fluids, including fuel, oils, and coolants, are drained from the vehicle.
  • Battery removal and fluid draining prevent environmental hazards and facilitate dismantling.

3 Dismantling Process

  • Dismantling involves taking apart vehicles, especially for valuable components.
  • Many parts, like starters, alternators, engines, gearboxes, and braking systems, are repaired and reused.
  • Catalytic converters can be reused or contain valuable metals.

4 Shredding of Metal

  • After dismantling and fluid removal, vehicles are shredded into smaller pieces.
  • Shredded materials are separated into ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
  • Shredding reduces vehicle volume by about one-fifth.

5 Cutting Residue

  • Cutting residue is a complex mix of materials, challenging to separate.
  • It contains moisture, wood, metal, glass, sand, dirt, fluids, plastic, foam, rubber, textile, fibers, and more.
  • It may contain heavy metals and combustible materials.

5.1 Recycling Cutting Residue

  • Material extraction from cutting residue requires multi-stage separation and cleaning.
  • Specific materials are concentrated, separated, and cleaned.
  • Materials like plastic, rubber, glass, and metals are potentially recyclable but face challenges.

5.2 Material Separation

  • Material separation uses various properties like size, shape, color, density, and electrical properties.
  • Similar properties in different materials complicate separation.
  • Polymers often overlap in properties due to various formulations.

5.3 Mechanical Separation Facility

  • Mechanical systems, such as gravitational separators, electro-static separators, and vibrating lattices, are used for material separation.
  • Mechanical separation facilities aim to extract polymers and metals.
  • Some technologies have achieved a high success rate in separating materials.

5.4 Other Ways of Mechanical Separation

  • Gravitational separator uses differences in material properties.
  • Electro-static separator relies on electrical properties.
  • Mechanical separation processes can improve material cleanliness from waste.

Recycling Challenges

  • The choice of recycling technology depends on factors like price, amount, type, quality, and location of landfills.
  • Vehicle recycling is complex due to the diversity of materials.
  • The recycling process involves six main phases, with dismantling and fluid draining as initial steps.


  • Vehicle recycling infrastructure is vital for sustainable waste management.
  • Collaboration among stakeholders ensures effective recycling.
  • Recycling challenges include material complexity and the need for advanced separation technologies.
  • Proper recycling practices protect the environment and extend landfill lifespans.
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