SMMT offers free recycling take-back service for end of life ‘orphan vehicles’

Altauto-Verwertung (Foto: Kroll/

London, UK — The British automotive industry has committed to helping thousands of consumers recycle their old vehicles with a free take-back service, designed to help owners whose brand may no longer sell in the UK. While manufacturers – under the End of Life Vehicles Directive – provide disposing of in an environmentally responsible way free of charge, some motorists can face difficulties if the brand is no longer trading and has no parent company. When this happens, the car or van becomes what is known as an ‘orphan vehicle’.

On behalf of its members, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has now taken on responsibility for these vehicles by partnering with recycling company Autogreen to ensure that all unclaimed cars and vans can be disposed of and recycled responsibly – with no cost to the consumer.

This scheme will be especially valuable to owners of orphan vehicles in remote areas of the country who can find it difficult to get to a recycling point. Autogreen has committed to collect vehicles nationally, to make sure that all vehicles can be easily disposed of in a safe, environmentally friendly way for free.

Cars are already one of the most efficiently recycled consumer products, with manufacturers now tasked with recycling and recovering at least 95 per cent of old vehicles. Vehicle manufacturing plants are also following this trend, with less than 2 per cent of their waste going to landfill in 2014, down from around a quarter a decade previously and representing a 90 per cent reduction since 2000. In the same period, energy and water usage have been cut by 48.1 per cent and 43.6 per cent respectively, while ‘well to wheel’ CO2 emissions are down by a significant 40.2 per cent per vehicle produced.

The new take-back system will help ensure that the estimated 700,000 orphan vehicles still on British roads have a route to responsible disposal.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: “This new partnership is further evidence of just how seriously UK vehicle manufacturers take their environmental responsibilities. The industry has a strong record, not just on recycling, but on emissions, energy and water usage reduction as a result of huge investments into innovative technologies, production processes and facilities. Thanks to this latest initiative, every motorist in Britain can now be assured that when their vehicle reaches the end of its life it will be disposed of in a way that is not just ecologically sound, but cost-free – no matter where they live.”

Source: The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT)