Recycling is a way of life for many these days; nearly any material can be recycled or reused in one way or another. Old automobiles are certainly no exception to this rule, and recycling them provides a number of benefits to the environment—and the wallet.
Immediate Environmental Benefits
Nearly every automobile manufactured today—anywhere in the world—has a frame that is constructed of steel. If that steel were recycled, imagine the amount of iron ore that could be saved for future endeavors. Also, since coal is required to refine iron ore into steel, every ton of steel that is recycled from old automobiles saves nearly a half ton of coal. Aside from this, the limestone that must be destroyed to mine that coal is also spared; this protects precious resources and saves time, energy and ultimately money. Recycling the fluids and materials found in old automobiles also drastically reduces the amount of waste in landfills and prevents dangerous chemicals from seeping into groundwater.
Recycling steel prevents the need to manufacture new steel; this reduces the need to refine iron ore and transform it into the steel that creates new cars. It is much more energy efficient to simply melt down the old steel and re-mold it than to mine for iron ore, transport it to a refinery and then use massive amounts of energy to create the steel. Coal-burning plants and refineries are the largest contributors to greenhouse gases in the environment, second only to the gasoline and diesel burning automobiles that are on the streets and highways of the world today. Even a slight reduction—recycling only one automobile—can immediately reduce the amount of these gases in the air.
There is more to protecting the environment than simply recycling used materials. The famous slogan, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” reminds everyone that reducing the amount of non-sustainable materials they consume and reusing those that cannot be avoided is just as important as recycling. As such, many salvage yards go to great lengths in order to harvest parts from wrecked and junk automobiles that can be repaired and resold for later use. Most accidents do not destroy every part in an automobile; there are usually at least a dozen salvageable parts on any car. Selling a used or wrecked car to a salvage yard puts money in the pocket of the consumer and protects the environment for future generations.
Long-Term Environmental Benefits
The more people who recycle their vehicles in order to preserve the environment and earn some extra cash, the more people that will eventually follow suit. It is hoped that automobile recycling will become the norm someday and thus greatly reduce the number of rusty, unusable vehicles found in junkyards and landfills all over the world. Even one automobile recycled per lifetime by every single American would prevent more than a billion tons of dangerous greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
There are many benefits to be had when it comes to automobile recycling including extra money, reducing the number of fossil fuels and ores that are consumed and even preventing greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. Recycling old automobiles is a great way to preserve the environment today and for years to come.