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How to: Vehicle Recycling

You can recycle Vehicle recycling. Why it’s important and how to do it. In our ever changing green new world, recycling an automobile is the most responsible choice an owner can make for the future.

If you have ever been on a road trip through any city or rural town in America, you may have noticed a multitude of forgotten automobiles parked in driveways, yards, and fields. Many of these vehicles have sat a long vigil since the last turn of a key brought their engine roaring to life. While these silent sentries standing guard over corn fields and city streets may represent distant memories and days gone by for their owners, we should ask ourselves what cost does their slow degradation take on our planet.

Shining Some Light on Vehicle Recycling

To broaden my understanding of what vehicle recycling entails, I reached out to the SellMax office of Houston, Texas. The team there was kind enough to give me some information and the definition of vehicle recycling. They defined vehicle recycling as, “The dismantling of vehicles for spare parts. At the end of their useful life, vehicles have value as a source of spare parts and this has created a vehicle dismantling industry.”

While a lot of people may already be doing their part to recycle household waste such as cardboard, paper, cans and bottles, the task of responsibly disposing of that unused automobile may seem daunting. Fortunately, responsibly removing and recycling any automobile is only a phone call or few clicks of the computer mouse away on the World Wide Web. You can recycle almost all of the automobile you once loved so much. Vehicle recycling is done at great benefit to our environment.

The Hazards of Dormant Vehicles

Gone are the days when grandpa would change his oil and pour it out next to the garage. As a society making strides to be more environmentally friendly and conscious we have come to understand disposing of spent fossil fuels in an improper manner has many ill effects on the Earth. Spent fuels destroy vegetation, leech into wells and ground water, and pollute streams, lakes, and oceans.

While it is unlikely that we commit this type of pollution in a purposeful way, it is likely that the retired vehicle sitting idly on your property is doing just that. In fact, beside your old engine oil, there are many hazardous materials associated with vehicles that are no longer in use. These include fluids such as engine coolant, gasoline or diesel fuels, and the Freon used in auto air conditioners. Old and failing automobile batteries present hazards as well as difficulties with disposal. Recycling vehicles safeguards the Earth against these potential harms.

The Particulars of Vehicle Recycling

Figures show that approximately 17 million new vehicles are sold yearly. What happens when your vehicle is no longer of use? They dismantle, remanufacture and shred the vehicle.

Saving Steel

The automobile has always been a monument to steel.  We can recycle and reuse still many times to benefit from its strength and versatility without losing any of its properties. The steel industry as a whole has been recycling steel for over 150 years. The number one source of steel for recycling is the automobile. Recycled steel, bridges the considerable gap between manufacturing and demand. Recycling steel also uses considerably less energy and resources than the mining and forging of new steel.

The Other Bits and Pieces

We can save other parts of the vehicle. Parts of the vehicle such as alternators, engines, transmissions, and electronics equipment may all be salvaged and/or recycled. The vehicles plastic components, tires, and batteries are also on the list. We can recycle Over 95% of batteries’ into various products. The acid is neutralized and the lead is recovered. The batteries plastic casings are also recycled into parts used for future vehicles.

Efficiency is Key

Vehicles are one of the major consumers of materials; however they are also one of the major sources of recycled materials. All told, we can reuse almost 86% of the automobile. To place this figure into perspective, many households recycle beverage containers, all of which have a lower content return rate. (Aluminum containers at 73%, Glass containers at 23%, Plastic containers at 3%)

The Broad Benefits

Every year more than 25 million vehicles will reach the point of their life where it is no longer economically viable for the owner to maintain them.

The benefits of vehicle recycling to the auto manufacturer are crystal clear. Reduced material costs, manufacturing costs and the ability to more rapidly meet the demand for new vehicles. But I also want to discuss the benefits for the individual (that’s you) looking to recycle their vehicle. First and possibly the most important is a chance to do something nice for the only planet we have to live on. Recycling agencies will take your vehicle and ensure that it does not end up in your local river or buried in a landfill.

So What Have We Concluded?

There are a multitude of benefits to recycling a vehicle. Top among these are helping the planet by preventing hazardous materials from finding their way into your local ecosystem. The savvy automobile owner can also earn cash to have it hauled off their property. With that space in driveway, you could use that extra cash for a new outdoor living or entertaining space. Now I ask you, would you rather stare at that automobile you no longer need, or enjoy a cold beverage under your DIY pergola? I prefer the latter!

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