We are all constantly reminded of the importance of recycling and the major benefit it has on our world, but one commodity not everybody realises can be recycled are cars! Cars are made from regular materials, just like any other product or commodity in our world, and they can be broken down into parts and recycled.
The scrap metal in cars can easily be recycled by auto wreckers and recyclers, which reduces the amount of waste that ends up on landfill or sitting in a scrapyard. If you have an old car which you no longer want and cannot sell, you should strongly consider having it recycled. The car recycling business is full of companies that are just itching to take your car off your hands and break it down into bits for recycling; it’s not something you need to (or can) do at home.
You may be wondering why it is particularly important to recycle cars, so here are a few reasons why recycling the individual components of any car is important.
The recycling of lead-acid car batteries can prevent them from breaking down naturally and leaking their toxic, dangerous and corrosive acids into the environment. Lead is a substance which is highly toxic and can cause major health problems if it is ingested or touched for a long period of time (i.e. kidney and brain damage), so by recycling your car’s battery, you are removing something which has the potential to cause great harm to the environment.
Over 90% of components in batteries can be re-used and recycled into new batteries. Recovering the lead from old batteries uses a lot less energy than is required to make new ones!
The sorry sight of dumped tyres is common in any major city, and millions of these are dumped around the globe each year. A large proportion of tyres which get dumped either end up on a landfill site or are burned, creating huge amounts of toxic air pollution, and an absolutely awful smell to match. The burning of tyres causes both ground and air pollution, so it is best to recycle your tires instead of having them dumped somewhere.
Old car tyres can be broken down and made into a variety of useful commodities such as insulation and surfacing for roads; rubber is a useful material and old tyres have infinite applications.
A huge benefit associated with recycling cars is that almost all the steel and aluminium from its body can be reused. When steel is recycled, it reduces the demand for new steel ore and it does not need to be re-refined from ore, which uses a lot of energy. By having steel recycled, you are contributing towards the use of less energy and water pollution, which takes place whenever new steel is manufactured.
Steel can be recycled into new vehicles, trains, planes, and even buildings. Steel is a widely used commodity which has a huge range of applications far beyond vehicles.
#4: Other Bits and Pieces
The oil from your car’s engine can also be recycled. Engine oil is a huge pollutant and has to be disposed of properly, rather than dumped in landfills or left to contaminate water sources. It has been shown that one litre of engine oil is enough to contaminate over one million litres of water. Even dirty engine oil can be cleaned and re-used as part of the production process for other products, so there is no excuse to leave it sitting there on a landfill site.
Glass from car windows can be recycled into other glass products, the plastics from the dashboard and internal structure can be melted down and made into new products, too. Plastic is a controversial material right now and we, as a world, are trying to cut back on the manufacture of plastic. Also, your upholstered seats can be harvested for their materials, which can then be recycled into furniture.
Recycling is not only good for the environment overall, but it is good for consumers too. By having old cars recycled, manufacturers can source the materials and re-refine them into new products.
Because using recycled materials is much cheaper than sourcing new ones, manufacturers that are heavily reliant on recycled materials can offer their products at a much lower price. Not all parts of a car are broken down and re-refined into new products, though, as there is a huge market for auto parts. Your old car parts could end up in somebody else’s car and be of great assistance to them.
New car parts are expensive, and you may as well put your old car parts to good use. The message to take away from all of this is that if you have an old car which you cannot sell and no longer use, just recycle it!