Car recycling

Car collection

The average car reaches the end of its life after 18 years. In the Netherlands, that means about 200,000 cars per year. Old cars are delivered to one of the ARN car dismantling companies. The car dismantling company deregisters the vehicle with the appropriate authority (in the Netherlands this is the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW)). The customer receives a release of liability form and the car an ‘ORAD’ listing: An Online Registration of Automotive Dismantling.

ARN works with about 300 partners in the chain to ensure environmentally friendly processing of these end-of-life vehicles and batteries. That process takes place in a number of steps, after which hardly any raw materials remain. The law stipulates that at least 95 per cent of the weight of the vehicles should be recycled or repurposed. In practice, that percentage is over 98 per cent.

Car dismantling

The ARN car dismantling company starts the dismantling process. Many parts of end-of-life vehicles can be reused and are given a new life, such as the starter motor, gearbox, dynamo and headlamps. Other parts, such as tyres and fluids, are removed for recycling by specialised companies.

ARN is responsible for collecting and processing the waste materials and works with almost 230 affiliated car dismantling companies to achieve this. ARN ensures that good collectors and sustainable recycling companies are contracted, and monitors the process.

The car dismantling companies form a dynamic sector that constantly anticipates new technological applications in vehicles. ARN works closely with car dismantling companies to be able to recycle even the newest vehicle components. Together, the companies recycle about 25 per cent of the weight of end-of-life vehicles.


After dismantling, the end-of-life car, stripped of all salvageable parts, goes to an ARN shredder company. The installation grinds the car in to small pieces of metal and residual materials. The metals, such as iron, copper and aluminium, are separated and recovered for the metallurgy industry. The residual materials are sent to the PST plant in Tiel for further processing.

Thirteen shredder companies are affiliated with ARN, where large machinery pulverises the end-of-life vehicles into shreds. The coarse, light dirt is sucked away. The rest goes through a drum magnet, which separates the metals. The recovered iron is sent to smelting companies to be made into new steel. Together, the shredder companies recycle almost 60 per cent of the weight of the end-of-life cars.

Post Shredder
Technologie (PST)

The final step in the recycling process is separation using Post Shredder Technology (PST). The PST plant in Tiel separates the remaining shredder waste into reusable raw materials. The combination of technology is unique in the world and it is still developing. “We are continually working on innovations,” says Recycling Director Hans van de Greef.

Four waste streams are separated in the PST plant: plastics, minerals, fibres and metal scrap. The process is divided into various modules, each with their own colour at the plant. The blue module separates the materials into three main flows of minerals, plastics and fibres. Those groups are separated further in separate modules. The PST is responsible for recycling the final almost 16 per cent of the end-of-life cars.

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