End of the road for these cars

A forklift moving a dismantled car body at the 1.2ha Kheng Keng Auto scrapyard in Sungei Kadut. The scrapyard is staffed by close to 40 workers. By weight, only about 5 per cent of a car is trashed. This mostly comprises glass and fabric.
A forklift moving a dismantled car body at the 1.2ha Kheng Keng Auto scrapyard in Sungei Kadut. The scrapyard is staffed by close to 40 workers. By weight, only about 5 per cent of a car is trashed. This mostly comprises glass and fabric.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
The first step for all deregistered vehicles at the Kheng Keng Auto scrapyard is the depollution process. Here, waste oil – including engine oil and brake fluids – is drained from the vehicle. The total volume of waste oil can exceed 10 litres. T
The first step for all deregistered vehicles at the Kheng Keng Auto scrapyard is the depollution process. Here, waste oil – including engine oil and brake fluids – is drained from the vehicle. The total volume of waste oil can exceed 10 litres. This is collected and sold to licensed waste oil recyclers. ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Some of the main parts of the car – including the door panels, rims and bumpers – are removed during the dismantling process.
Some of the main parts of the car – including the door panels, rims and bumpers – are removed during the dismantling process.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
After being dismantled, the car bodies are flattened and compacted before being sent to metal mills to be recycled. It takes a crane less than two minutes to pound and flatten a Nissan Sunny.
After being dismantled, the car bodies are flattened and compacted before being sent to metal mills to be recycled. It takes a crane less than two minutes to pound and flatten a Nissan Sunny.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Sungei Kadut scrapyard salvages usable parts before disposing of deregistered cars

Every month, up to 1,000 cars pass through Kheng Keng Auto scrapyard in Sungei Kadut.

At the 1.2ha compound, cars that have been deregistered are pared down to their component parts. What can be recycled, reused and resold are then removed. The rest of the car is disposed of.

Kheng Keng Auto is one of four official scrapyards appointed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Under the law, a deregistered vehicle has to be sent to the scrapyard or shipped out of Singapore within a month.

"There are three basic rules here: reduce waste, reuse and recycle," said Mr Cher Kwang Siong, the scrapyard's managing director.

By weight, only about 5 per cent of a car is trashed. This mostly comprises glass and fabric.

"What parts can be resold depends on the make and model of the car, but components like the engine are definitely re-exported," said Mr Cher, adding that they are sent across the border to Malaysia.

Waste oil is drained and sold to licensed waste-oil recyclers.

Meanwhile, in an open yard, a crane makes quick work of car bodies. It takes less than two minutes for it to pound and flatten the body of an old Nissan Sunny before it is placed neatly in a pile. They are then sent to metal mills to be recycled.

In the warehouse, plastic from parts like the car dashboard is crushed in a compactor and recycled, said Mr Cher.

"In many places overseas, cars have a lifespan longer than 10 years. The parts that we send abroad can have a second life in places like Africa and Latin America," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2015, with the headline 'End of the road for these cars'. Print Edition | Subscribe