With all of the different materials that go into a vehicle, it only makes sense that recycling a vehicle can have a tremendous effect on the environment. Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled, and most automotive industries have taken advantage of the economic benefits from recycling old cars and using the materials in producing new cars.
The recycling process goes as follows:
- Auto recyclers remove parts such as engines, transmissions, doors and bumpers for reuse in other vehicles
- Liquids such as engine oil, coolant, and gasoline are carefully managed to prevent releases by storing them in double-walled tanks and/or secondary containment prior to being reused or recycled
- Once dismantled, the vehicle is sent to a shredding facility. The metal recovered by these plants becomes raw material feedstock for steel mills, electric arc furnaces, aluminum and other non-ferrous metal smelters to manufacture a variety of products, including new vehicles.
It is estimated that through each year the automotive industry collects and reuses or recycles:
- 100.8 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel
- 24 million gallons of motor oil
- 8 million gallons of engine coolant
- 4.5 million gallons of windshield washer fluid
- 96% of all lead acid batteries
It is easy to recycle a vehicle, as many scrapyards can pick up the vehicle in a truck if it cannot run by itself. However, there are steps that will make the process go much faster.
- Go to the Automotive Recycler’s Association website to research car recycling standards and guidelines. Junk cars can hold 5 to 10 gallons of liquid waste that is harmful to the environment. This site provides a list of current programs that will recycle your car.
- Call a local junk yard or scrap metal yard ahead of time to inquire about whether they take or buy junk cars. Some will take them for free, while others will charge a fee.