Owners urged to ensure end-of-life vehicles and waste tyres are managed by authorised waste treatment facilities

Date released: Jan 12 2017

  • Ireland met the EU End-of-Life Vehicle Directive targets for 2014 but based on the current reuse, recycling and recovery trends, Ireland is at high risk of missing new, higher targets in force since January 2015.
  • Approximately 87,000 end-of-life vehicles were treated in 2014 and 82% of their material was reused or recycled.
  • Approximately 28,000 tonnes of waste tyres were managed in 2014; of these 44% were recycled and 36% used as a fuel.

The EPA has today published waste data about end-of-life vehicles and waste tyres managed by Authorised Treatment Facilities or other waste management organisations in Ireland in 2014.

End-of-life vehicles contain valuable resources and are required to be treated at Authorised Treatment Facilities. Such treatment includes draining waste oils and removing parts for reuse or recycling. Treated end-of-life vehicles are then sent to metal shredding facilities to recover metals. In 2014, 82 per cent of end-of-life vehicle material was reused and recycled, meeting Ireland’s EU End-of-Life Vehicle Directive recycling targets for the year. New regulations, published in November, have enabled the appointment of an approved body, End-of-Life Vehicle Environmental Services (ELVES), to represent vehicle producers and be responsible for a national collection system for end-of-life vehicles and achievement of the targets with effect from 1st January 2017.

Approximately 28,000 tonnes of waste tyres were managed in 2014 with 45 per cent of them exported for treatment. In total, 80 per cent of waste tyres managed were recycled or used as fuel in 2014. While the tonnage of waste tyres managed in authorised facilities increased by 16 per cent between 2012 and 2014, there is still significant uncertainty about the level of unauthorised disposal. The role of a new waste tyre Producer Responsibility Initiative will include collecting information on tyres and waste tyres in the distribution, collection and waste treatment network to meet this data need. 

Mr Dara Lynott, Deputy Director General, EPA said,

“Waste tyres and end-of-life vehicles are required to be managed properly to remove hazardous substances and avoid the risk of pollution. Unauthorised disposal will have to be avoided if we are to recover the valuable materials in these products and protect our environment and human health.”

Fiona McCoole, Office of Environmental Sustainability added,

“All consumers can play their part to ensure that end-of-life vehicles and waste tyres are appropriately managed and brought to legitimate waste treatment facilities. If your car or van needs to be scrapped, bring it to an authorised treatment facility and get a Certificate of Destruction for your records.”

These data releases are now available on the EPA website where you can also view details of Ireland’s progress towards EU waste recycling, recovery and diversion targets.  


Notes to Editor:

These figures don’t take account of unauthorised disposal. The number of end-of-life vehicles is based on those accepted at waste facilities for treatment. Information on waste tyres was compiled using survey returns from waste tyre handlers, other waste management organisations, records of transfrontier shipment of waste and waste collection records.

End-of-life vehicles are cars accommodating up to eight passengers plus driver and commercial vehicles of no greater than 3.5 tonnes that have reached end of life.

EU End-of-Life Vehicle Directive targets effective from January 2015: The reuse and recycling target has risen to 85 per cent and the reuse and recovery target to 95 per cent.

Treatment of end-of-life vehicles: The proper treatment of end-of-life vehicles starts with the removal of materials such as fluids and gases, oil filters, batteries, mercury containing components and catalytic converters. Large plastic, metal or glass parts and components suitable for reuse may also be removed at this stage. What is left of the end-of-life vehicle is then shredded and the shredder output is separated into different material streams. Components that were removed from end-of-life vehicles and are suitable for reuse are sold for reuse. Most of the metals and a proportion of the plastics, glass, batteries and fluids from end-of-life vehicles are recycled, and the rest is incinerated with energy recovery or disposed.

Treatment of waste tyres: The rubber and metals in waste tyres are suitable for recycling/recovery. The rubber can be crumbed/shredded and used in various products such as artificial turf or mats (recycling activity). Waste tyres are also accepted at cement kilns for co-incineration (use as a fuel, an energy recovery activity). Some waste tyres are used for engineering purposes or as ballast (e.g. road construction) and some waste tyres are prepared for reuse (retreaded and placed back on the market). Metal wiring from inside the tyres is sent to metal handlers for recycling.

Recovery means any operation the principal result of which is waste serving a useful purpose by replacing other materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil a particular function, or waste being prepared to fulfill that function, in the plant or in the wider economy. Annex II of the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) sets out a non-exhaustive list of recovery operations, which includes material recovery (i.e. recycling), energy recovery (i.e. use a fuel (other than in direct incineration) or other means to generate energy) and biological recovery (eg composting).

Recycling means any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes. It includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operations.

Circular economy: In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimised, and resources are kept within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value. To facilitate the move to a more circular economy, the European Commission put forward a Circular Economy Package in December 2015, which includes revised legislative proposals on waste, as well as a comprehensive Action Plan.