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Reducing End-of-Life Impacts

Automobiles are some of the most highly recycled consumer products in the world. Most of the materials they contain can be recovered at the end of their useful lives.

In theory, end-of-life vehicles are at least 95 percent recoverable, but the cost in energy and labor to recover the final fractions toward 100 percent can be extensive. Nonetheless, we try to achieve the highest level of economically and environmentally viable recovery through the careful selection of materials, and by sharing information about the materials our vehicles contain with dismantlers.

Take-Back Schemes

Across Europe, Ford offers car owners a cost-free take-back network with take-back points that are able to fulfill Ford’s waste-quality standards. The recycling network is set by each European market and licensed by the appropriate national environment agency.

As part of this process, Ford’s Environmental Quality Office and End-of-Life teams perform a structured duty-of-care audit process, visiting take-back points to ensure our vehicles are treated responsibly at the end of their useful life, and keeping the latest end-of-life network information available on Ford National EU web portals.

Alternative End-of-Life Treatments

None of our current components contain mercury but to address end-of-life issues associated with mercury in older vehicles, we were instrumental in getting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work with state authorities, dismantlers, steelmakers and environmental groups to recycle mercury switches. With more than 10,000 participants in the scheme, 7 metric tons of mercury were recovered by the end of 2017.

We also support treatment technologies that make the recycling of end-of-life vehicles more economically and ecologically viable, and co-sponsored a life cycle assessment that showed the environmental benefits of diverting plastic, foam and other nonmetallic materials from landfill and using it for energy recovery.

Recycling During Servicing

At our U.S. dealership service centers, we recycle, reuse and reprocess the parts removed during servicing, such as headlights, bumpers and windshield-wiper motors. Dealers are charged for new parts, but are reimbursed if they are recycled through our Core Recovery Program. Parts that can be remanufactured are cleaned, machined and tested before being used in new vehicles; otherwise, they are used to make new parts. The scheme forms part of our voluntary Go Green Dealer Sustainability Program, to which around half of our U.S. Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers belong.