The Impact of Vehicle Recycling
Vehicles are America's most recycled item—and recycling can redirect a lot of waste when a vehicle reaches its end of life. Very little goes to the landfill. Recycled parts save an estimated 80 million barrels of oil annually that would be required to produce new replacement parts. Auto recycling provides about 40% of the ferrous metal for the scrap processing industry across North America. Steel, non-ferrous metals, plastics, and tires can all be (and are) used in the creation of other useful items.
There is a massive global effort underway to repurpose cars as more people worldwide commit to conserving the environment and minimizing their carbon footprints. In fact, 27 million vehicles are recycled annually worldwide. These initiatives create hundreds and thousands of jobs, which in turn boosts economies. The automotive recycling industry is an important component of a system that promotes sustainability. Today, automobile manufacturers are progressively working to make it easier to remove parts from cars at the end of their lives.
Auto Recycling Offers Environmental Benefits
When a vehicle is recycled, it's processed for parts and materials that can be reused. The process of recycling a car is similar to the one used in an assembly plant. The vehicle parts are disassembled into their individual components, which are then sorted by type and cleaned. The recyclable materials include metal, glass, plastic and rubber; these types of scrap metal can be sold to manufacturers who use them as raw materials in new products like cars or household appliances.
More than 80% of an automobile can be made recyclable for other uses. Materials such as steel, tires, and other metals are extremely useful, versatile, and reusable. This decreases the environmental impacts of the original manufacturing. It also expands process options.
How Many Cars Get Recycled Each Year in the US?
The US does its part to protect the environment. More than 12,000,000 cars are recycled every year in the US. That means, each minute about 26 cars are recycled. Each year, more than 18 million tonnes of steel are collected and melted down by the automotive recycling sector.
Every piece of scrap metal that can be easily removed or transformed efficiently helps to conserve the Earth. Recycled components aren’t limited to the automotive industry; many industries have found ways to repurpose old car parts into usable items once they’ve reached “the end of the road”.
For example, it’s possible to recycle lead from car batteries. The sulfuric acid in old car batteries can be extracted. It is then neutralized and transformed into sodium-sulfate crystals. These crystals can then be used to create glass products and textiles.
Even tires can still find uses after they're no longer suitable for automobiles: they're made into playground equipment and often find new life as containers to hold feed and water for livestock. Rubber from millions of tires is recycled each year to make a variety of products. Recycled rubber from waste tires has been used in asphalt by the paving industry since the 1960s, as well as mulch, playground surfaces, and running tacks.
In the end, recycling cars is a great way to help save money and protect the environment. It might not seem like much at first, but when you look at the big picture, it all adds up. And we think that’s something worth celebrating!
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