How to dispose of an end-of-life vehicle
An end-of-life vehicle (or ELV) is a car or light commercial vehicle with a maximum mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes which is to be disposed of by the registered owner (in other words, a car or van which is to be scrapped). Owners of intact end-of-life cars and vans must deposit such vehicles at an appropriately permitted or licensed authorised treatment facility (ATF). An authorised treatment facility may not charge for accepting an end-of-life vehicle. When one of these vehicles is deposited at an authorised treatment facility, the owner will receive a certificate of destruction.
The disposal of end-of-life vehicles is controlled because they can pose a threat to the environment. This is largely because of the hazardous materials contained in end-of-life vehicles. These include, for example, lead acid batteries, fluids including lubricating oil, coolant, brake fluid, and catalytic convertors, all of which must be disposed of safely in order to prevent pollution.
EU Directive 2000/53/EC (as amended) sets out specific measures to be put in place by Member States concerning the collection, storage, treatment, dismantling, reuse and recycling of end-of-life vehicles. The Directive is given effect in Ireland through the European Union (End-of-Life Vehicles) Regulations 2014 (SI 281 of 2014).
What exactly is an end-of-life vehicle?
An end-of-life vehicle is a specified vehicle, such as a car, which is discarded or is to be discarded by its registered owner as waste. Vehicles normally reach the end of their useful lives, either due to age (typically around 12-14 years), or because of heavy damage following an accident. There is no fixed age, therefore, at which a vehicle can be considered an end-of-life vehicle.
Where can an end-of-life vehicle be deposited?
An end-of-life vehicle must be deposited at an authorised treatment facility. Each vehicle manufacturer or importer is required to have a national collection system in place made up of at least one such treatment facility in every city and council area. These facilities provide a free take-back service for vehicles of that producer’s brand. There may also be an independent facility in your area that will accept your end-of-life vehicle.
If an end-of-life vehicle is deposited at an unauthorised facility, the owner will not receive a certificate of destruction and may remain recorded as registered owner of the vehicle on the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s National Vehicle File.
Will the authorised treatment facility collect the vehicle if the registered owner is unable to transport it to the facility?
This is a matter for the owner of the vehicle. An authorised treatment facility that forms part of a producers network is bound to accept any specified vehicle of that producer’s brand and may not charge. An independent authorised treatment facility may refuse to accept any vehicle but if it is accepted, no charge can be made. In both cases this is subject to the vehicle being largely intact. If the vehicle has to be transported to the treatment facility (for example by tow truck), it is the responsibility of the owner to meet this cost.
What services is an authorised treatment facility obliged to provide?
An operator of an authorised end-of-life vehicle treatment facility is obliged to:
- Issue the registered owner with a certificate of destruction
- Ensure 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.
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. A good rule of thumb is, if you want the car accepted for free, don’t harvest spare parts of value first.
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, maintained by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
The vehicle must be treated within 10 days of being deposited at the facility.
Offences concerning the disposal of end-of-life vehicles
It is an offence for you (or an authorised treatment facility) to fail to comply with the law on the disposal of end-of-life vehicles. In particular, it is an offence not to obey the rules concerning vehicle certificates of destruction or not to deposit at an authorised treatment facility a vehicle you intend to discard as waste.
The Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 introduced fixed payment notices (on the spot fines) for certain offences. Owners who fail to deposit an end of life vehicle at an authorised treatment facility can be issued a fine of €100. Certain other offences regarding certificates of destruction and obligations on Authorised Treatment Facilities can result in a fine of €1000.
Other penalties for offences are set out in Regulation 35 of the Regulations. On summary conviction a class A fine and/or 12 months imprisonment can be imposed. For conviction on indictment a fine of up to €500,000 and/or 3 years imprisonment is available to the court.
You will not be charged if you deposit an intact end-of-life vehicle at an authorised treatment facility, provided you are the registered owner of that vehicle.
You may be charged for depositing the vehicle, if essential components of the vehicle are missing.
You may be able to claim a refund of motor tax if there is more than 3 months unexpired tax.
How to apply
You must bring your vehicle, along with the vehicle's registration document, to an authorised treatment facility. You will be issued with a certificate of destruction which you should keep.
Further information on how to dispose of an end-of-life vehicle is available from your local authority, vehicle manufacturer or importer, or local authorised treatment facility.
Where to apply
For details of your local authorised treatment facility, contact your local authority or the vehicle importer.
Further information on the law about depositing end-of-life vehicles is available from the Waste Policy and Resource Efficiency Section of: