End-of-life vehicle statistics for Ireland

EPA waste data release June 2020. Latest reference year 2018.

Ireland achieved an End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) reuse and recycling rate of 86.37% and a reuse and recovery rate of 95.17% in 2018, in compliance with current EU targets.

Key trends

  • More than 162,500 ELVs were treated in Ireland in 2018. This was an increase of approximately 16% since 2017.
  • Ireland achieved a reuse and recycling rate of 86.37% and a reuse and recovery rate of 95.17% in 2018, which indicates Ireland achieved full compliance with the current ELV Directive targets for the first time in 2018.
  • Rates of reuse, recycling and recovery of ELVs have improved significantly in Ireland since 2010, although the rate of improvement has slowed in recent years.
  • Reuse and recycling has remained stable at 86% since 2016, while reuse and recovery rates have shown gradual year-on-year improvements since 2014.


What are End-of-Life Vehicles?

ELVs are cars or light commercial vehicles (weighing less than 3.5 tonnes) that are no longer suitable for use and are discarded as waste.

ELVs generate between 8 and 9 million tonnes of waste in the European Union (EU) annually. The EU ELV Directive (2000/53/EC) sets out measures to promote the reuse, recycling and recovery of ELVs and requires each Member State to meet the targets of 95% reuse and recovery of ELVs, with a minimum of 85% reuse and recycling.

ELV treatment process

An ELV that is no longer suitable for use is brought to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). ATFs are better known as ‘scrapyards’ or ‘car dismantlers’ and are permitted by the local authorities or licensed by the EPA. When an ELV is brought to an ATF, the registered owner receives a Certificate of Destruction and will no longer be liable for motor tax.

The first step of the ELV treatment process is depollution. This process involves the removal of hazardous materials such as oils, fuel, fluids, batteries and explosive components (e.g. air bags) from the ELV. The ELV may also be dismantled to obtain spare parts for reuse and components for recycling.  Commonly removed spare parts include mirrors, lights and engine parts. Tyres and catalytic converters are generally removed for recycling.

In the next step of the treatment process, the depolluted ELV is shredded at a metal recycling facility. The shredded ELV material is then segregated into ferrous and non-ferrous metal and non-metal material.

The shredded metal is melted to make new metal products. The non-metallic shredded material undergoes further treatment.

ELV producer compliance scheme

Vehicle manufacturers, distributors and importers have obligations to meet the ELV Directive targets. An ELV producer compliance scheme, ELV Environmental Services (ELVES), was launched in 2017. It works on behalf of vehicle manufacturers, distributors and importers to improve the ELV processing in Ireland and enable its member to meet their regulatory responsibilities.   ELVES also promote a network of ATFs to encourage vehicle owners to recycle ELVs at permitted ATFs.

ELV data collection

The EPA uses information provided by ATFs and other waste facilities, to gather data on ELV collection and processing.  This data is supplemented by information from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), ELVES, National Waste Collection Permit Office (NWCPO) and the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport.

  • Table 1. ELV recovery rates, 2009-2018

    Open in Excel: Table 1. ELV recovery rates, 2009-2018 (XLS 10KB)