Extreme car recycling

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

As of today, cars in the Netherlands can be almost completely recycled; after all the metal has been removed, it’s now possible to take everything of value out of the material that’s left.

In the Dutch town of Tiel a brand new factory does exactly that, and it’s a first. The concept is called Post Shredder Technology (PST), and only Auto Recyling Netherlands (ARN) can take it to that level.

A car is made of much more than steel alone. But it’s highly complicated to separate all those valuable materials once the shredder has torn the wreck to bits and the metal has been removed. What remains – some 200 kilos per car - looks like very dirty compost. And everything in it is mixed together.

(Read more below the video.)


In the new factory in Tiel, a whole range of clever machines take out copper, plastics, glass and fibre, all of which will be reused in new products.

The plant is currently partly financed by the 45-euro ‘disposal fee’ charged on every new car. But, due to the rising prices of raw materials and the upscaling of the process, that won’t last long.

The moment the factory will pay for itself, or even make a profit, is coming soon. And, as Arie de Jong of ARN puts it: “Recycling is the very best form of sustainability.”