Together - We Can Recycle

Posted on Wednesday, 14 September 2022 by CarTakeBack

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October 17th sees the start of Recycle Week! For 2022, the theme will change daily, from Procurement Monday through to Spring Clean Weekend, but the whole week has been designed to educate us all about best practice waste minimisation and recycling. By encouraging conscious procurement and effective disposal of items and packaging, the aim is to create a waste free future for New Zealand. And we couldn't agree more!

The campaign website offers useful information for when you are identifying "Can it be recycled?" but while you might be unsure whether some smaller domestic items can be recycled, when it comes to your car, the answer from us is yes! Our fantastic network of CarTakeBack recycling centres will accept vehicles in any condition and will recycle the metal, key parts and some of the other materials to protect the environment and avoid waste.

As well as avoiding waste, using scrap metal instead of virgin ore means there is a massive 97% less mining waste and 40% less water used in the process, according to the National Institute of Health. So you can help the environment in two significant ways, simply by choosing a responsible scrap car service. Setting your old car on this recycling journey means it will be safely de-polluted, dismantled, recycled and maybe even become a new car.

Recycle Week CTB green car

How To Recycle A Car

If your scrap car has ended up at a responsible car recycling centre such as those that are part of the CarTakeBack network, they will undergo several stages to ensure the safety of those handling the vehicle and protection of the environment, as well as the efficient recycling of the car! The main processes start with securely detonating airbags and safely removing all fluids such as fuel, brake fluid, even windscreen washer fluids, ensuring that no excess chemicals leak into the surrounding environment. Any working parts that are in a good condition are salvaged to be reused, to get the maximum life out of them. The vehicle is then crushed, which is done to make the cars easier and more efficient to transport for further recycling.

This recycling process we've described is for a petrol or diesel vehicle, but there are additional steps that go into safely de-conditioning a hybrid or electric vehicle, as the batteries can be highly dangerous to remove. If you'd like to find out more about recycling hybrid and electric cars, check out our blog on the topic.

The cubed cars are safely transported to a shredder plant, which process vehicle remains into smaller pieces and separate into metal, glass, plastics and fabrics. Different components can then be recycled for use by various industries, including new car manufacturing! The remainder that can't be recycled becomes top cover for landfill.
Recycle process infographic

How can we do more to improve car recycling?

Members of the global CarTakeBack community are always looking for ways to refine the recycling process and increase the percentage of a vehicle that can be recycled. Here in New Zealand, there aren't strict regulations and around 70% of each car is recycled, which is largely made up of ferrous metal. Recycling scrap metal is a much more efficient process than mining and processing new ore, so it's been an active industry for many decades. But with the growing focus on sustainability and the environment, we all need to turn our focus to the additional materials that make up vehicles to improve recycling rates. Improvements in general waste management and recycling infrastructure are required across the industry and indeed the country.

CarTakeBack works with the government and actively encourages product stewardship, which should ensure manufacturers take responsibility for minimising their environmental impact throughout all stages of a product's life cycle, including end of life management.

As well as working with the government, the wider CarTakeBack alliance includes vehicle manufacturers and shredders, which are the large scale facilities that process cars once they've been cubed. We also work closely with the MTA (Motor Trade Association), councils, specialist tyre and battery recyclers and other organisations to ensure we're providing the best scrap car recycling service that we can, now and into the future.

Together We Can Recycle

There is still a lot of work to do in New Zealand, but the industry is moving in the right direction and as you can see, here at CarTakeBack, we're doing everything we can to facilitate those positive steps for our environment.

This recycle week, together, we can all do our bit by making the right decision about how we purchase, use and recycle all the items in our life. When it comes to your car, exactly the same principles apply. It may not have driven its last km just yet, but keep the message from this year's campaign in mind, and when the time comes, choose a responsible car recycling service to protect the environment.