A Waste of Raw Materials: Only one out of four cars is recycled in Germany


A Waste of Raw Materials: Only one out of four cars is recycled in Germany

To complete the resource cycle, Scholz Recycling GmbH and TSR Recycling propose a central office to recycle end-of-life vehicles (ELV) in Germany. This project is backed by findings of a commissioned study on the recycling and utilization of ELVs.


Millions of vehicles go out of commission every year in Germany but only one out of four retired cars remains in the country to be disposed of correctly. Thereby, the industries lose valuable resources every year. Closing the recycling gap with properly reprocessed products is more sustainable than re-extracting them expensively from primary sources.


That is what the Study of Recycling ELVs says too. It was commissioned by Scholz Recycling GmbH and TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG at the independent Prognos Institute. Prognos has found out that by the year 2030 only 1.1 million out of 5.2 million tons of built-in raw materials will be recycled. This unguided recycling of ELVs results in about 2.4 billion Euros of economic damage each year.

”The presented figures are alarming and clearly show that Germany needs a directional policy, especially as a country of scarce raw materials”, Bernd Fleschenberg, CEO at TSR says. “Only if politicians side with the automotive industry and the recyclers, we will be able to significantly increase the current utilization rate of 20%, in order to minimize the huge loss of raw materials”, Dr Klaus Hauschulte, CEO of Scholz, added.


Both Scholz and TSR therefore suggest installing a central office which organizes the recycling of ELVs. Via recycling certificates the process could be controlled and supervised. To fund the office a fee could be charged for each new car sold. “From our point of view”, Dr. Hauschulte states, “this office will be most effective if it operates out of the industrial sector itself, with no necessity for additional state bureaucracy.”Mr. Fleschenberg also emphasizes „that the contributions made should be invested in environmentally friendly recycling as well as in research projects.”


This is because the study reveals that the built-in materials will significantly change in their compositions by 2030. With 15 percent less steel in the construction of cars, the proportion of more than 50 different plastics and plastic composites will double. “Those complex composites cannot be separated using current recycling processes, which will hamper the compliance with recovery rates in future”, Dr. Hauschulte warns.


An effective recycling needs an intense dialogue and cross-industrial exchange. Otherwise the recycling companies cannot process scrap because they do not know from what kind of materials and composites the cars were made of. Fleschenberg therefore summarizes that “it is crucial to integrate the recycling branch into the product development process from the very beginning so that the resource cycle, in accordance with the principles of a circular economy, can be closed more effectively and sustainably.”


Find the original media advisory here (in German):

Metallrecyclingunternehmen fordern: Kreisläufe schließen, um Rohstoffe zu vermeiden

Contacts and further information

Scholz Recycling GmbH

Dr. Beate Kummer, Communication on Environmental Issues

phone: +49 (0) 7365 84-830


TSR Recycling GmbH & Co. KG

Jenny Sbosny, Spokeswoman

phone: +49(0)2306/106-3878