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New recycling scheme for 'orphan vehicles'

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.

Under the End of Life Vehicles Directive, when cars and vans up to 3.5-tonnes reach the end of their lives, they must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way. However, while manufacturers provide this service 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’ and there are currently around 700,000 of them in the UK.

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.

The scheme should prove 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.

According to SMMT, cars are already one of the most efficiently recycled consumer products, with manufacturers now tasked with recycling and recovering at least 95% of old vehicles.

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.”

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