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How end-of-life vehicles from the demolition sector are managed

9 February 2023

Ecotecnica Europe produces presses and shears for the demolition sector, investing resources and energy in the design of state-of-the-art machinery that meets customer needs whose satisfaction remains our objective not only in the sale phase of the product, but also in the phase of assistance.

We have always recognised the value of the end-of-life vehicles disposal from the point of view of the circular economy: we are talking about an inexhaustible mine of materials that, if properly pressed and recycled, can bring significant advantages and not only in economic terms.

Vehicle recycling at the end of life: how does it work?

A car at the end of its life weighs 1088 kg, consisting of 70% ferrous metal, 4% non-ferrous and about 14% of materials such as plastic and glass. To this we must add the weight of the casings, battery and wiring sheath. In recent years, the industry has been questioning how the recycling of end-of-life electric vehicles will take place, especially with regard to battery disposal.

It is also true that when a car is scrapped, it becomes a complete waste and the most dangerous components must be disposed of in the right way. The safety of the vehicle that is out of use consists, precisely, in the removal of dangerous components. The junkyards note on particular registers a kind of waste balance, the MUD, useful especially to the bodies responsible for checking that the company has complied with regulatory obligations, including environmental protection.

In practice, however, the end-of-life vehicle must be stripped of dangerous parts. Subsequently, the glass and plastic are disassembled, intended for plants suitable for their recycling. Finally, the vehicle is crushed and pressed with special machines, such as those produced by Ecotecnica Europe, after separation of ferrous and non-ferrous metals (copper or aluminium), intended for steel mills by ASR (car crushing residues). It is estimated that 15% of the Italian steelworks needs  draw vital blood from the recasting of ferrous material from the demolition sector.

End of life vehicles: the fluff problem

Then it is necessary to dispose of the non-metallic component, transformed into fluff. The fluff is precisely the volatile part obtained from the crushing of vehicles, composed mostly of plastic and upholstery, destined for landfill. Today solutions to convert the fluff in fuel are to the examination of the institutions. It is precisely the recovery of fluff, according to industry associations, the needle of the balance to achieve European standards.

In conclusion, we must encourage the recovery of all materials, trying to involve the regions with investments and tax benefits that allow the junkyards to buy state-of-the-art machinery and presses.

How end-of-life vehicles from the demolition sector are managed
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