In worrying new figures, more than 90% of car drivers questioned had not heard of the End of Life Vehicles (ELV) directive.
And of those that were familiar with the legislation in a Recycleyourcar.co.uk survey, almost half were over 55 years of age.
Recycleyourcar.co.uk officer Derek Campbell said: “Despite the fact that the ELV directive is now in place, ignorance of its existence and objectives is worrying.
“If we as a society are going to catch up with most of the rest of Europe in terms of maximising the efficiency of our vehicle recycling infrastructure, it is vital that the consumer is able to see the benefits to the environment of utilising Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs).”
The survey was conducted to coincide with the launch of the Recycleyourcar.co.uk initiative that will help drivers to find their nearest ATF.
But further evidence of public ignorance about the ELV issue was confirmed by the fact that 65% of respondents thought that the UK disposes of less than a million vehicles per annum when the real figure is in excess of two million.
While 66% of people did think that we should recycle as it is good for the environment, the survey highlights the need for more information to be made available to the public on the directive as it strives to reduce waste from motor cars.
In the nationwide study, it was also found that men are three times more likely than women to know how many cars the UK disposes of while people from the south west are twice as likely to know that an ATF is the best place to dispose of a vehicle as people from the rest of the country.
The Recycleyourcar.co.uk service has been set up by Sims Group UK to provide the UK car owner with an easy to use facility for finding their nearest ATF.