EMR - end of life vehicles

The journey of end-of-life-vehicles: from road to sea

At EMR, globally, we process around 16 vehicles a minute – that’s a massive 960 cars an hour! Over the past 10 years we have invested £350 million in technologies and partnerships so we can recycle as much of each vehicle as possible. We are now able to recycle and recover 95% of a vehicle, ensuring that we limit the amount of waste that goes to landfill.

Have you ever wondered what happens to your vehicle once you have sold it to EMR? We will take you on the journey of an end-of-life-vehicle (ELV) from your driveway to the manufacturing of new products from the various components of your vehicle.EMR - end of life vehicles

Selling your vehicle to EMR

The journey of your ELV begins at your home. The vehicle recycling collection service that we are rolling out across the UK means that you can register your vehicle online, get a quote, and have it collected by us for recycling in a quick, convenient, contact free service. EMR will even deregister your car through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), so that you don’t have to.

Alternatively, your vehicle’s journey can begin when you bring it to your local EMR site. You can supply your documents using our secure online system to save you time and we will always pay you a great price for your vehicle. After you have been paid and set off on your way home, the process of recycling your vehicle begins. The first stage is depollution.

The depollution process

Before we can process the metal and various other components we must depollute your vehicle. EMR has the largest single network of Authorised Treatment Facilities (AFT) in the UK, with the recognition that we responsibly remove any hazardous materials from ELVs and prevent them from being released into the environment.

Bailing the vehicle

With the depollution process complete, your car is taken to the baler, normally by a forklift truck. A crane lifts your vehicle into the baler which looks like a small enclosed box. Within 50 seconds, the rams inside crush your vehicle into a cuboid half its original size and discharge it out of the bottom of the baler.

We carry out the baling process so that vehicles can be transported in an environmentally conscious way; the idea is the smaller the cargo, the fewer vehicles we need on the road.

Transportation for separation

Your vehicle will then be taken to one of our specialist shredder facilities, where we have the technologies and know how to recycle the rest of your vehicle. At Liverpool, we boast the world’s largest mega-shredder, which with its 10,000 horsepower drive, can shred a car into small pieces in just 15 seconds. Our advanced separation technologies that follow the shredder allow us to correctly identify and isolate the many different materials in any vehicle. We use magnets, flotation systems, sieving, AI vision systems and many other techniques to separate the liberated components of a vehicle including the plastic in the dashboard, foam in the seats and glass in the windscreen.

Setting sail

After your vehicle has been through our separation process we are left with small, individual metal components, including aluminium, steel, copper, brass, zinc, etc, which are ready to be sold to one of our many customers here in the UK and internationally. EMR operates docks in the UK at Liverpool, Newcastle, Cardiff and Tilbury, from where we are able to export to countries in Europe, Asia and beyond. The manufacturers that we sell to then melt the metals down to produce many new products.

Before you know it, the vehicle you sold to EMR could be made into the can you drink from or a steel beam used to build your new home. However, the 95% of your vehicle that is recycled is not all metal! The various other components are also recovered. The plastics are transported to EMR’s plastics division, MBA Polymers, where they are made into new pellets, good enough to be used in new cars.

As you can see, by the time your vehicle becomes a new product, it has been through quite a few steps.  

Combatting climate change

By recycling your vehicle with EMR you are helping to create a circular economy. The use of recycled materials in place of natural ores in the manufacturing process vastly reduces CO2 output. For example, the steel industry saves an average of 1.67 tonnes of C02e per tonne of steel by using recycled metal rather than virgin equivalents. As a consequence you play a vital role in combatting climate change and allowing the use of resources which may have otherwise been sent to landfill. 

You can read more about EMR’s journey to net zero here.