When the life of a car has come to an end, what exactly should we do to recycle it properly, allowing the resources to be recirculated and reborn?
【EN】All parts of a car, including the bumper, exhaust pipe etc. are treasures! Properly recycle abandoned cars to give them a new life.
“Food, clothing, housing, and transportation” are the basic needs of human life. For modern people, cars and motorcycles are indispensable means of transportation. The density of motorcycles in Taiwan in particular, ranks the highest in Asia year after year, and the number of abandoned motor vehicles after decommissioning is naturally quite alarming. A motor vehicle is composed of tens of thousands of parts, ranging from the big parts like the car outer body, bumpers, exhaust pipe, shock absorbers, tires, seat cushions, lead batteries, and small parts like headlights, wire, foam, refrigerant, catalyst converters, and many more. As all of these can be recycled and reused, so it can be said that all parts of a car are treasures. Nevertheless, when the life of a car has come to an end, what exactly should we do to recycle it properly, allowing the resources to be recirculated and reborn?
Famed as a Recycling Kingdom, Taiwan alone recycled more than960 thousand abandoned cars and motorcycles in 2019, with a recovery rate of as high as 89.36%. From 1998 to 2018, a total of about4.4 million cars and7.61 million motorcycles were recycled. If we were to line up the front and rear of the cars together, it would stretch as far as 46,436 kilometers and circle around Taiwan more than 40 times. We should not underestimate the energy created by the circular economy.
Generally, motor vehicles aged over five years should undergo regular inspections. If a car has already been driven over 10 years, cannot be driven anymore and cannot pass car inspections, or it exceeds the statutory exhaust standards, it should be replaced. The new air pollution law, which has been implemented successively since 2018, is expected to tighten the criteria for “old” large diesel trucks and less environmentally friendly two-stroke motorcycles. However, motor vehicles must complete the procedures for car body recycling and registration scrapping before they can be officially declared to be at the end of their life. Drivers are warned not to abandon their cars on the roadside arbitrarily! Moreover, car owners can apply for rewards if they proactively declare their abandoned cars and motorcycles.
According to the EPA Reward System, owners of cars aged 10 years or more (including 10 years) and motorcycles aged seven years or more (including seven years), based on the year of manufacture, can apply for incentive rewards after completing the recycling process. The reward for each abandoned car is NT$1,000, and for each motorcycle is NT$300.
The car owner can remove the license plates and go to the supervision station for scrapping the car registration, along with relevant identification documents such as ID card, seal, license registration certificate, car license, etc., to recycle the scrap car following the “Two Recycling Steps,” and then apply for the reward through the online system. To recycle a scrap car, the car owner must first contact a vendor to tow the car, call the EPA’s free recycling hotline 0800-085-717, or search the list of legal recycling companies on the resource recycling website to arrange the towing time. Next, don’t forget to get the “Scrap Motor Vehicle Recycling Control Receipt” from the recycling company and claim the reward with the voucher.
Car dismantling by the recycling company
Upon entering a recycling plant, the scrap car is divided into two types of environmental dismantling work, “parts recycling” and “recovered materials.” To avoid environmental pollution, when dismantling the airbag, battery, tires, refrigerant, and other parts one by one, all liquids, including gasoline, lubricant, coolant, etc. must be drained off completely. For electric cars and motorcycles, the battery packs in them must also be removed.
For parts recovery, including the engine, steering wheel, lights, chassis, suspension system, and other parts, they can be removed and reused. Subsequently, the car body is re-dissembled into various industrial materials to be regenerated into different products. The waste materials that cannot be reused, such as wood, serve as auxiliary fuels to reduce the impact on the environment.
Iron is separated from scrap motor vehicles by the recycling plant crusher
A crusher in the recycling plant is used to shatter the car outer body, compress it into an iron block, and further separate the light and heavy materials. Waste plastic, waste rubber, and waste foam are classified as light materials, while iron, copper, aluminum, and other metals are heavy materials. Taiwanese companies have even coordinated with the European Union to build the processing equipment with the latest technology, and continuously optimize the recycling process and ratios.
Therein, glass, plastic, metal, etc. all have a higher use-value. For example, foam plastic from the seat cushions of cars and motorcycles can be made into environmentally friendly floor tiles, cushions, car air-conditioning electrostatic filters, and other products. Also, the plastic in the bumpers can be melted down and made into new bumpers, interior trim panels, or toolboxes. Meanwhile, the dismantled batteries can also be recycled for energy storage equipment. The leather, cloth, carbon fibers, etc. also have their uses. Designers even use car parts on furniture and works of art. Various creative ideas have given extraordinary value to scrap motor vehicles, contributing as a vital part of sustainable resources.