recycle a car

What Is Vehicle Recycling? A Simple Guide

Recycling has become somewhat of a household name, with everything from plastic to glass going into separate trash cans so that it can go to the recycling plant. The process of recycling involves breaking down the items into their fundamental parts, which workers melt down, crush or restores to their former glory.

Along with general items someone would use around the house, old or damaged cars that are no longer of use will retire to the scrapyard and find their way to various recycling plants. According to Live About, around 25 million tons of materials go through the recycling process after scrapyards remove them from the vehicles.

With such a high volume of recyclables, below are some interesting facts to learn more about this booming industry and how it helps to save the eco-system:

What does vehicle recycling entail?

Vehicle owners who no longer have any use for their vehicles can contact a car removal service close to them to assist with taking the car to a scrapyard. Once the vehicle arrives, it sets the process in motion, with workers separating every part of the vehicle and splitting it into different groups.

The groups could consist of plastic, glass, liquids, electronics, rubber and mechanical parts like the engine and gearbox, and machines will sort most of these throughout the process. Everything from the roof to the tires and all else in between will go through this sifting process to determine what could still be helpful or be recycled.

Some items find a new home when dealers buy the workable parts for use in running vehicles. At the same time, electronics like the radio and speakers are often sold as-is or second-hand after the necessary repairs. 

Vehicles will be a shell of their former self, but the metal is still worth quite a lot of money. For this reason, the car’s body will go to a crusher to make the metal compact and easier to pass through a shredder. After that, the scrapyard can sell the shredded metal as scrap that could turn into new products or even back into car bodies after they’re recycled.

car parts in old warehouses used vehicle part for recycling in the scrap yard garage

Where do the non-recyclable parts go?

There are different elements to vehicles; not all are recyclable, like fluids or batteries. Depending on the part, there are regulations to safely dispose of these elements so that they won’t cause any harm to the immediate environment.

Each region will have specific laws about how and where the hazardous materials should go, and most will have similar strict regulations about the recyclable parts. Most will go to companies geared to handle these elements instead of to a regular landfill.

How eco-friendly is the process?

Although it seems like a lot of work to separate all the components, transport them to the recycling centres and create a new product, it’s still more cost-effective than making these items from scratch.

A recent study by ResearchGate shows that recycling reduces production costs by around 28.1% and the company’s carbon footprint by as much as 29.3%. Keeping these recyclable items off the landfill could save millions of litres of water from contamination and help reduce soil and air pollution. 

In the end, everything finds a new purpose, even used motor oil, gasoline and tires that could all help the wreckers supplement their vehicles should they not sell them to other interested parties. 

What are the benefits of recycling?

According to Statista, the recycling market grows at around 4.8% yearly. It would thus seem as if more companies have joined the initiative to recycle rather than produce. Recycling could therefore be a driving factor for sustainability and the economy.

For the environment, recycling helps to preserve natural resources like water, minerals, soil and lumber. At the same time, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions because there’s less need to mine and spend hours manufacturing at a plant.

Economically, recycling assists communities in creating more jobs, using locally available resources, and creating other revenue for the region. Overall, it seems beneficial to everyone and everything involved in the process.

In conclusion

Recycling vehicles that no longer serve any valuable purpose could provide more benefits than the sum of their parts. Not only does the environment benefit from the process, but communities also grow their economies, and workers can provide for their families.

Sustainability is more than saving the earth from pollution; it’s also about people coming together to make something from what’s deemed to be worth nothing. Dismantling vehicles give their parts a new purpose in life, and people contributing to the process may also find new hope and purpose for their future through the humble recycling actions they perform.