When it comes to “waste”, the whole country is plagued by illegal operators. Whether this be household waste being piled and left into illegally leased properties or fly tipped, people in Transit vans collecting scrap cars and paying cash or simply people operating without the necessary permits and licences. The cost of these illegal activities are costing the country Billions of pounds each year. The figures are alarming and unfortunately the government budgets are so far stretched that these practices are happening right under our noses without penalty.
We at Autospares and Salvage are an Insurance Salvage Management company. This means that we have direct contracts with insurance companies to recover their salvage, store and either re-market the salvage through an online auction platform or break down the vehicles (category B write offs) and supply these parts back into insurance company channels and trade/public markets.
Our company is split into three areas, the salvage, the parts and the scrap cars. The initial thought of a scrap yard is that of days gone by, the owner with oily muddy boots on, a yapping Alsatian on a chain in the corner and cars balancing on top of each other in a precarious fashion all whilst wading through gallons of sloppy mud and oil. This stereotypical image couldn’t be further from reality, certainly in our case and that of others within our nationwide insurance network group. The serious investment in equipment to maximise return from materials are quite frankly, astonishing.
So what’s the issue? Over the last decade it’s been well documented that scrap prices have been high especially in the non ferrous metals, such as copper, lead, aluminium etc. This has led to a meteoric rise in metal thefts and within our industry. Catalytic converters on vehicles contain precious metals such as Platinum, Rhodium and palladium. The prices in such metals are pretty much constant and don’t fluctuate too much. The knock on affect in this is the rise of the unlicensed scrap car collector. A very common sight nowadays in Northamptonshire and nationwide is that of a flatbed recovery truck carrying a scrap car on the back going to weigh in at their local haunt and get paid cash (potentially). Generally these people advertise on Facebook and such social media platforms and can go and pay cash. How you ask? Because they aren’t registered anywhere and can fly under the radar.
Since December 2012, an amendment to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, that regulates the scrap metal industry, stated that it was now illegal to pay cash for scrap, either at purchase or at sale of. So how has this affected our industry? For the majority of us that have permits given by the Environmental agency and waste carriers licenses it has impacted because a certain percentage of people who call to scrap a car, want cash for it. In the main, most people don’t mind receiving payment via bank transfer, this is mostly common practice but for the remaining that want cash where will they go? When scrapping a vehicle, it should only be done through permitted legal sites, that way you guarantee that it will be recycled correctly and you’re doing your bit for the environment
There are non permitted sites popping up throughout the county and country. In the main these sites are that of the old stereo type, oil, mud antifreeze seeping into the ground with no care or thought for the environment, the only thought is that of profit. Every company needs to make a profit, but at what cost?
Profit is easily earned for the illegal traders, they don’t pay insurances, they don’t pay taxes, they don’t pay for the necessary permits and licenses and are removed from all costs involved in upholding the criteria to remain permitted.
So not just in our sector, all waste sectors. Please never deal with illegals.