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The way to greener pastures

Recycling for our environment

Because the environment is so important to us, we've increasing the efficiency of our recycling by designing products that are sustainable from the outset.

Opel's vision for sustainability is a key element in our product development. It aims to decrease the waste produced during vehicle production as well as at the end the vehicle's life. Opel's design for sustainability is part of our commitment to the environment and the preservation of precious material and energy resources.

Design for sustainability

Makes recycling it so much easier

In terms of product development Opel's recycling strategy is based on two cornerstones:

  •  Design for sustainability
  •  Development and implementation of vehicle material cycles.

Integrated product responsibility


  • Life cycle asessments
  • Avoidance of critical materials



  • Use of recycled materials (recyclates)



  • Dealership disposal (waste management)
  • Spare parts



  • Vehicle recovery
  • De-pollution and pre-treatment
  • EU ELV-Directive
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To ensure that all Opel products meet our recycling aims, all Opel design teams must follow the 'Recyclability/Recoverability' guidelines. These guidelines have been created to support both Opel engineers and suppliers in their development of recyclable vehicles. This process also helps engineers to assess the ease at which parts, components etc. can be recycled at the end of the vehicle's life.

Elements of design for sustainability

  • Recycling oriented material selection
  • Design for depollution
  • Design for pre-treatment
Opel has a long tradition of using recycled materials, also known as recyclates. More than 230 plastic recyclate types have been specified and approved for use in production.

In comparison to new resources, recyclates must fulfil all the same technical specifications and be produced at a lower cost. Where these two criteria are met, recycled materials are preferred, but quality is never compromised. Our recycling team takes every effort to maintain high quality look and feel, mechanical and thermal durability, along with performance standards.

In fact, because our recycled materials are of such a high standard and quality, they can now be used for visible parts as well as hidden parts of Opel cars.

Use of recycled materials

The highlighted parts can be made of recycled materials (example: Adam).

Recovery concept

For your end of Life Opel


The last owner takes the ELV to one of our contracted take-back partners. After checking the vehicle our take-back partner issues the required Certificate of Destruction (CoD).

Pre-Treatment and Depollution

First of all the battery is taken off and the airbags are neutralized. Our take-back partner then takes out all fuels and other operating fluids of the ELV. This includes engine oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, coolant & refrigerant fluid from the air conditioning system.


The next step is the dismantling of components and systems in order to market them as used parts or to use them as basis for remanufactured parts. If economically viable, materials like plastic or glass are taken off for recycling purposes.


Environmentally hazardous materials are collected and later on sent to specialized recovery companies for recovery or disposal.


The pre-treated hulks are delivered to a shredder which segregates the ELV into pieces and sorts the output into various fractions for further recycling or recovery.

Post-Shredder Technology (PST)

These segregated material fractions from the shredder are further processed with different technologies (magnet, eddy current, flotation) to obtain material fractions which can be used as valuable secondary raw materials.

Recycling / Recovery / Landfill

Material fractions from the shredder and from the PST plants can be recycled (e.g. as replacement for coal in blast furnaces, dewatering means in sewage sludge) or recovered in the cement industry. This process enables a recovery of 95% of the vehicle and reduces drastically the amount of remaining waste for landfill.

Take-back network

Recycle your opel

Through our end of life vehicle take-back process.
We've always done our best to be environmentally friendly but now recycling is not a choice, it's part of the law. On 8 June 2006 the ELV (End-of-Life Vehicle) regulations came into force in Ireland. A recycling initiative that required manufacturers to decrease the amount of waste created during vehicle production and at the end of the vehicle's life.

As of 1 January 2007 all Opel cars can be returned by their owner to one of the Opel contract partners for vehicle take-back, at the end of its life. This is a free service, subject to certain conditions (please see below).

We want to make sure that your end-of-life vehicle is recycled in an environmentally friendly way. That's why we ensure that all our take-back locations fulfill the legal requirements of the ELV Regulations by having them certified by independent experts in accordance with the law. Each of our take-back partners, all processes and the documentation of all incoming and outgoing material streams will also be checked by our recycling experts.

Your end-of-life Opel is only applicable for our free take-back if:

  • The vehicle has up to 9 seats or is a Light Commercial Van up to 3.5 tonnes
  • The vehicle was finally registered in Ireland
  • Essential parts or components are not missing
  • The vehicle doesn't contain any non-automotive waste
  • The original vehicle papers have been handed over together with the vehicle


Hand back your end-of-life vehicle to our take-back partner and they'll give you a Certificate of Destruction (CoD), the paperwork you need to de-register your car. Now you can leave safe in the knowledge that your old car will be disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way.

Find your nearest take-back partner