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2021 May 31

Tyres and bumpers in the forests: where can I take my old car to make these images disappear?

Tyres are a fairly common find when doing nature clean-ups. In April, the State Forestry Enterprise reported an increase in particularly car waste in the forests after quarantine. It turns out that it’s not only late drivers who are afraid of the tyre changing season, but also foresters. Tyres, windscreens, plastic bumpers – these are the “treasures of nature” when garage owners dismantle their cars and decide to dispose of the unwanted parts in the easiest way. However, steps are already being taken to encourage people owning an old car to go to official garages that ensure the car is properly dismantled. If the car was older and polluting, you can still claim €1,000 in compensation if you get a certificate of recovery from an official scrap yard.

Wish to receive compensation? Place your car in responsible hands

Under Lithuanian law, residents cannot dismantle their cars and remove what is most valuable from them themselves – special permits are required for such activities. However, what is being found in forests shows that many small-scale disassemblers are still ignoring this ban. Illegal disassemblers dispose of what has no value – rubber and plastic parts, interior trim, glass, seats and mats. Batteries, shock absorbers, bodies, fenders – parts like these can still be worth some money to the car owner (or the disassembler).

How do you know that you are going to someone who will dismantle your car properly and not scatter its parts in the nearest forest? The responsible companies are united by the Association of End-of-Life Vehicles Managers. The members of this association i.e. scrap yards, having taken the car for destruction, issue a special certificate of destruction of the car. It is important to check whether the company you choose is committed to the proper management of your car’s waste and whether it has a contract with a waste management company. If the car was polluting and had a valid roadworthiness test, you can still get €1,000 compensation from the Ministry of the Environment if you have a certificate of destruction in your hand. The offer seems to be tempting, with around 16 000 owners of old cars taking advantage of it last year.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 36.4 thousand tons of ELVs were collected in Lithuania in 2019, of which 35.7 thousand tons were treated (prepared for use or disposal).

Four-fifths of cars are still dismantled illegally

Car scrap yards buy old or wrecked cars and remove valuable or still usable parts from them. For example, the front end of the car is damaged in an accident and the engine is severely damaged. It is one of the most expensive parts of a car, so there is a good chance that it is not worth repairing your vehicle after such an accident. However, such a car still has plenty of usable parts. The scrap yard disassembles the car in detail, checks the quality of each part, disposes of unusable parts, stores suitable ones and sells them when needed.

A study carried out by the Environmental Protection Institute in 2018 showed that 160 000 cars and vans are sold in Lithuania every year. Unfortunately, horrifying statistic has also been revealed: as much as 82% of this volume is subsequently dismantled illegally. This means that the waste from this proportion of cars is unlikely to be recycled or properly recovered.

Even those who are repairing their car and are looking for a spare part should only go to an official car scrap yard. Authorised companies know where and how to dispose of a broken part that is no longer working, and the parts they sell are often of higher quality.

Thanks to the network of car scrap yards, 750 tons of used auto parts did not turn into waste

Olegas Lopeta, CEO and co-founder of “Ovoko”, UAB which manages the used car parts e-shop RRR.lt, says that he chooses the scrap yard partners that supply parts to the shop very carefully and signs official contracts with them. Their circle is constantly expanding, and currently “Ovoko” unites 730 of the largest Lithuanian and European car scrap yards.

Together with the partners, an e-shop is being developed to ensure that drivers no longer have to call dozens of scrap yards and repeat what brand of car and what part they need – entering the information into the search for the e-shop immediately shows which virtual warehouse it can be purchased in.

“In 2020 alone, more than 750 tons of parcels were dispatched through the RRR.lt platform. It is precisely this amount of car parts that was kept out of landfills and continues to serve its purpose and live a second life, so to speak. The platform connecting sellers and buyers has been in existence for more than four years, so it’s easy to calculate how much work has been done. In the future, the number of reused car parts will increase significantly, as we are currently actively cooperating with more and more foreign scrap yards,” says Oleg Lopeta, one of the managers of “Ovoko”.

There are many ways you can contribute to preserving nature and managing waste sustainably. One of them is to choose a responsible scrapyard or a system of scrap yards that fully manages all your car waste.

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