Most of the vehicles delivered to the recycling center Hringrás at Sundahöfn harbor in Reykjavík are between seven and eight years old and many are still in working condition. Nearly 5,000 cars are scrapped in Iceland every year.
“Most of these cars need a little repair or maintenance. A few years ago, cars that weren’t working properly were taken to the repair shop, but now they are just thrown away and new cars are bought instead,” said Einar Ásgeirsson, the managing director of Hringrás.
“There is a good supply of cars and easy access to financing. […] A large supply of used cars lowers the price on the market. So in many cases it is cheaper to buy a new car instead of repairing the old one,” Ásgeirsson explained.
On top of that, car manufacturers aren’t as concerned about quality as they used to be, Ásgeirsson added. “Now they are trying to make their cars as cheaply as possible, which results in lower quality and a shorter lifetime.”
Vehicles delivered to Hringrás for recycling are emptied of oil and fluid, the car batteries are removed as well as the tires. The remainder is then cut and pressed until it is only about one cubic meter in size.
Afterwards it is sent out of the country with other scrap metal where it is melted down and reused.