In order to ensure that end of life vehicles (ELVs) are discarded without endangering the environment, appropriate collection systems should be set up. In accordance with the European Community Directive, the construction of an industrial plant for the decontamination and recycling processes of ELVs is currently being planned in Navarra (Spain). The aim of this study is to optimize the design and management of this industrial plant. We will provide a modelling framework that integrates different OR methodologies: queueing networks, optimization with simulation, evolutionary computation and multiobjective methods. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.