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10 Car Parts That Can Be Recycled

These days, in almost every area of day-to-day life there is a discernible effort for us to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Whether it’s recycling at home, making dietary changes or getting behind the wheel of an electric car, more people are conscious of their impact on the planet. 

With this in mind, when our vehicles come to the end of their life it’s important to know how they can be disposed of in a more sustainable way. 

Over eight million cars are scrapped every year, but with the average vehicle possessing around 30,000 different components, it can be difficult to know exactly which parts can be recycled. 

In this article, the team here at Hill Metal Recycling aims to shed some light on the variety of car parts that can be recycled and reused. Read on to find out more.  

  • Windows and windscreen

Windows and windscreens aren’t the easiest car parts to recycle due to the plastic layers that are fixed to the glass. However, advances in technology have made it easier to remove the glass. Specialist recycling centres will take windscreens which can be used to create floor tiles, jewellery, kitchen counters and more.       

  • Oil

Most people will probably be surprised to know that old or expired car oil can actually be recycled and reused. In fact, oil only gets dirty; it never actually goes ‘bad.’ It’s important to take dirty oil to a specialist centre where it can be cleaned and reused. Disposing of oil incorrectly can have a harmful effect on the environment, so it’s vital to do so properly. 

  • Scrap metal

Perhaps the most common part of a car that can be recycled is the metal. Vehicles are predominantly made from metal and feature a wide range of components made from a variety of metals, including steel, aluminium and copper. A dedicated recycling centre will be able to remove and sort all of this scrap metal for you, and often even take it off your hands for a price. 

  • Batteries 

Your car’s battery is one of its most important, easily recyclable components, and is often in good enough working order  to be reused even when your car is not. Even if the battery is broken, it still has plenty of recyclable materials, like plastic, that can be extracted. 

It’s actually a criminal offence to dispose of a car battery in household waste. This is because it contains lead, which is toxic and harmful to the environment. 

  • Tyres

Tyres are one of the most fundamental parts of any vehicle, but when the time has come for you to get new ones, they have to be properly recycled. Some dealers or garages choose to burn tyres to dispose of them, but this pollutes the air with hazardous toxins and this practice should be avoided. Instead, we recommend taking them to a reliable recycling centre that can ensure they’re correctly recycled and transformed into something new.  

  • Plastic

It’s no secret that our planet has a problem with plastics. A staggering eight million metric tonnes of the material ends up in Earth’s oceans each year, causing harm to a whole host of marine life. 

With this in mind, it’s important that a car’s plastic components are correctly recycled. Modern cars contain large amounts of plastic which can be found on bumpers, handles, levers and much more. Any car recycling centre will be able to separate this plastic, and make sure it is appropriately recycled.  

  • Engines

Old engines can be reused or recycled in all manner of ways. First of all, just because your car is being scrapped does not mean the engine is completely unusable. Often, it can be directly lifted out of your car and placed in another. 

Even if it can no longer be used, engines can be salvaged for spare parts or completely recycled for their scrap metal. 

  • Starters and alternators 

Starters and alternators play a crucial role in the functionality of every vehicle’s engine. They’re very expensive to replace so if you find that yours have stopped working, you can often have them reconditioned rather than paying for a new one.

A sure sign that they do need replacing permanently is if they’ve gone brown. In this case, just like all your car’s metal components, starters and alternators can be widely recycled at your local recycling centre. 

  • Mats

Just like the carpets, rugs and mats in your home, car mats are also extremely easy to recycle. As well as simply donating or selling your old mats, they can also be taken to recycling plants where they can be turned into other things. 

2.2 billion kilograms of carpet end up in landfill each year, so it’s important to not add to this.           

  • Headlights 

Your car’s old headlights are also often recyclable, but it can depend on exactly what type you have. Take your light bulbs to a recycling centre that will be able to advise on the best course of action for your specific bulbs. 


Here at Hill Metal Recycling, we’ve spent more than 25 years providing expert recycling services to commercial and domestic customers across Harlow and Essex. Whether you want to bring your scrap metal to us or want to make use of our collection service, we’re here to help with any ferrous or non-ferrous metal you may have. For more information on what we do, get in touch with our team today.