How to dispose of an end-of-life vehicle

Introduction

An end-of-life vehicle (ELV) is a car or light commercial vehicle (of less than 3.5 tonnes) which is due to be disposed of or scrapped.

You must dispose of an end-of-life vehicle using licensed authorised treatment facilities (ATFs, also called permitted scrapyards). This is because end of life vehicles contain hazardous materials that can damage the environment and pose a risk to public health if not disposed of safely. For example, vehicles contain lead acid batteries, lubricating oil, coolant, brake fluid, and catalytic convertors

Authorised treatment facilities cannot charge for disposing of end of life vehicles. When you have given your vehicle to an ATF, you should receive a certificate of destruction.

Since 2017, a compliance scheme (ELVES) has been in operation to improve standards in disposing of end of life vehicles.

You are committing a criminal offence if you (or an authorised treatment facility) dispose of an end-of-life vehicle illegally.

EU Directive 2000/53/EC (as amended) sets out measures that Member States must put in place about collecting, storing, treating, dismantling, reuse and recycling of end-of-life vehicles.

In Ireland, European Union (End-of-Life Vehicles) Regulations 2014 (SI 281 of 2014) put the EU Directive into national law.

Where can I bring my end-of-life vehicle?

You must deposit an end-of-life vehicle at an authorised treatment facility.

Each vehicle manufacturer or importer must have a national collection system in place with at least one treatment facility in every city and council area.

These facilities provide a free take-back service for vehicles of that producer’s brand. Independent treatment facilities are also available.

If you deposit an end-of-life vehicle at an unauthorised facility, you will not receive a certificate of destruction and may remain recorded as registered owner of the vehicle on the National Vehicle File.

Authorised treatment facilities are not responsible for transporting your vehicle, and you will have to arrange to bring the ELV to the facility yourself.

When you have deposited your vehicle at an authorised treatment facility, the owner or operator of the facility will:

  • Issue you (if you are the registered owner) with a certificate of destruction
  • Forward the details of the certificate of destruction to the National Vehicle and Driver File, kept by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

What services must an authorised treatment facility provide?

An operator of an authorised end-of-life vehicle treatment facility must:

  • Issue the registered owner with a certificate of destruction (either electronically or in paper form)
  • Make sure the facility is operated under an appropriate waste licence or permit
  • Meet the minimum technical requirements for the storage, treatment and recovery of end-of-life vehicles and the storage of components containing fluids, spare parts, etc
  • Keep records of end-of-life vehicle materials for reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal and report these records to local authorities annually

The vehicle must be treated within 10 days of being deposited at the facility. Treating the vehicle includes:

  • Removing the battery or batteries
  • Removing the liquefied gas tank
  • Removing (or neutralising) potentially explosive parts (including air bags)
  • Removing, collecting and storing fuel, oils and other fluids (for example, brake fluid)
  • Removing any parts containing mercury

All other parts of the car should, where possible, be recycled.

How much does disposing an end-of-life vehicle cost?

You cannot be charged for depositing an end-of-life vehicle at an authorised treatment facility, if:

  • You are the registered owner of that vehicle and
  • The vehicle is intact

You must bring the vehicle registration documents with you.

If essential parts of the vehicle (for example, engine, gearbox, transmission and catalytic converter) are missing, or the vehicle contains waste, then you can be charged.

You may be able to claim a refund of motor tax if there is more than 3 months unexpired tax.

Finding an authorised treatment facility

ELVES, the industry compliance authority has a searchable database of authorised treatment facilities (or scrapyards).

Offences for illegally disposing of an end-of-life vehicle

You are committing a criminal offence if you (or an authorised treatment facility) dispose of an end-of-life vehicle illegally.

If you do not deposit an end of life vehicle at an authorised treatment facility, you can be fined €100. Certain other offences around certificates of destruction and obligations on Authorised Treatment Facilities can result in a fine of €1000. The Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 introduced fixed payment notices (on the spot fines) for certain offences.

Other penalties for offences are set out in Regulation 35 of the Regulations and are:

  • Summary conviction: a class A fine or 12 months imprisonment (or both)
  • Conviction on indictment: a fine of up to €500,000 or 3 years imprisonment (or both)

You can read more about how criminal offences are classified.

Further information and contacts

Further information on the law about depositing end-of-life vehicles is available from the Waste Policy and Resource Efficiency Section of:

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

29-31 Adelaide Road
Dublin 2
Ireland

Tel: +353 1 678 2000
Locall: 1890 449 900
Fax: +353 1 678 2449
Page edited: 3 March 2020