The Environment Agency and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have decided that material left over from cars that have been recycled can be recovered as energy rather than sent to landfill.
This means most of the 800,000 tonnes of material that has gone to landfill each year can be used to produce high quality plastics and to generate electrcicity.
The move has been welcomed by the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA). Its director general Ian Hetherington said: “This is a long-awaited decision which represents the best outlet for the material which until now could only be landfilled.
“The UK metal recycling industry has been waiting for a positive decision in order for them to determine how best to drive up recycling rates for end-of-life vehicles (ELV) while generating growth for the sector and the country.
“For more than two years, BMRA and key players in the industry have been calling for Government to be decisive in providing a policy framework in which the UK metals recycling industry can take a lead in the advanced recovery of end-of-life consumer goods in Europe.
“Now with the right policy framework in place, the metals recycling industry will endeavour to retain a lead in developing materials recycling and recovery, while creating green jobs and growth in the sector.”
At present, UK metal recyclers are recycling 85 per cent of end-of-life vehicles but are left with auto shredder residue at the end of the process. As a result of this decision, it should now be easier for them to reach the 95 per cent recovery target for 2015 through thermal treatment of this material.