Up to 2 million old bangers reach the end of the road each year in the UK.
From January 1, cars at the end of their life should be returned to their manufacturers or to an authorised scrap yard that will ensure proper environmental treatment.
The EU's end-of-life vehicles directive requires manufacturers to offer a free takeback service for every car ever made, and to ensure that 85% of their contents are recycled.
Old cars can also be taken to one of 1,200 authorised treatment facilities (ATF) licensed by the Environment Agency that are already supposed to ensure that pollutants such as oil and brake fluids are removed before scrapping.
Last owners should be issued with a Certificate of Destruction to prove that the vehicle has been dealt with according to the law and that road tax is no longer due.
But although the new manufacturers scheme should make it easier for drivers to claim their certificate, Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies says that drivers of old bangers will not realise what they have to do. He accuses the Government of failing even to issue a press release let alone provide other information to advise the public of the new arrangements.
A survey of car manufacturers carried out by Davies this month showed that all who responded have put in place takeback schemes in accordance with the law. But most carmakers are concerned that car owners are not aware of the new service.
He said: "It is now the end of December and with the new takeback service starting in just a few days the Government has left it much too late to inform the public of the new scheme.
"Behind the scenes manufacturers have been working hard to ensure they meet their obligation to take back old cars from January. But they are concerned that the Government has not done nearly enough to publicise the new arrangements."
Chris Davies has written to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) pointing out that they each have a significant role to play to inform the public of the new law.
Davies believes the DVLA could make the public aware of the free takeback facility through their road tax reminder service. VOSA, who regulate MoT stations, should target publicity regarding the free takeback service at cars failing the test as these have often reached the end of their life.