Letter: Recycling car metal eyesores

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The Independent Online
Sir: Contrary to the caption, your photograph ("August is the cruellest month on the forecourt", 31 July) shows an accumulation of scrapped cars awaiting conversion into furnace feed for the metallurgical industries; they are not on a landfill site.

On average, 75 per cent of the weight of a redundant car is recycled. Some parts will be reused, but the hulks shown in your photograph will be processed by member companies of the British Metals Federation to yield ferrous and non-ferrous metals that will eventually be recycled into new products of many kinds. The remaining 25 per cent consists of plastic, rubber, fabric, glass and a good deal of dirt which presents some major challenges to recycling technology.

However, the UK motor, recycling and other industries involved have committed themselves to raise total recovery to 85 per cent by 2002 and 95 per cent by 2015. This will require new techniques and technology, but especially an innovative approach to car design so that recovery of non-metallic materials can become a practical proposition.

In the meantime, metals recycling companies will continue to reclaim every possible fragment of metal in a vehicle body, landfilling only the currently non-recyclable residue. In doing so they are freeing the environment of the sort of eyesore shown in your picture.


Executive Director

British Metals Federation

Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire