Once you are ready to part with a vehicle, you have a number of options when it comes to disposing of it. It can be challenging trying to decide on the right course of action for getting rid of such a large object.
Cars are made up of so many electrical components, liquids, and useful metals and each part is recycled independently. Even if you don’t see any personal use in an old car or any of its components, it is essential to consider the different ways that you can discard it.
Junk and scrap yards are often the final destinations for many cars that have reached the end of their lives. While these locations can and often do take cars apart and recycle what can be, they often are not the most responsible or environmentally-conscious option for recycling your vehicle.
Especially with today’s concerns about the environment and climate changes, recycling cars has become easier and more available.
Fortunately, there are better options that are safer for the environment when it comes to vehicle recycling. Especially with today’s concerns about the environment and climate changes, recycling cars has become easier and more available. Read on to learn about car recycling, why some options are more responsible than others, and the actions you can take to safely recycle your car.
The Dangers of Not Recycling
The alternative to recycling a vehicle is simply to not do it. If your car is no longer serving you, you might think that leaving in the yard to decompose is a suitable option. However, this is far from the truth. Most car parts are not biodegradable and will not benefit the surrounding environment.
A sitting car can cause tons of environmental damage if it is not taken care of properly. It can pollute the soil and groundwater, and even make a fire hazard. Both humans and animals are at risk when a vehicle’s fluids seep out into the environment.
When you are ready to get rid of your car, there are a variety of places that it could wind up. Unfortunately, many of them are the exact places where you don’t want a vehicle ending up. One of the worst places for a car to end up is in the landfill, although sitting in your yard for years can be similarly destructive.
A car is dangerous when left, completely intact, in the elements. This is because of the various corrosive and toxic chemicals that are used to make a car operate. While they are required to perform the various chemical and electrical interactions that occur in a car, leaving them untouched in a car for a long period of time can cause dangers.
Junk and Scrap Yards
At the very end of their lives, the majority of cars wind up at a junk or scrap yard. While these destinations do salvage any available material and either sell them to buyers or send them to recycling facilities, there is no telling how long a vehicle will sit in the yard.
The reason why this is not a responsible way to recycle is because dangerous chemicals can leak into the ground from cars that have been sitting in the yards for years. These fluids include coolant, fuel, and engine oil, among others. This should be the first step whenever recycling a vehicle and should be done quickly before erosion begins and fluids begin to mix and seep into the earth. Additionally, not every junk or scrap yard disposes of these fluids appropriately or recycles them.
What it Means to Recycle Responsibly
First and foremost, recycling is more environmentally responsible than not recycling at all. However, the process is complex and not yet as efficient as it could be.
Recycling is not a straight-forward business, and not everyone is recycling as effectively as they should be for various reasons. However, you can take the process into your hands. Instead of relying on a scrap or junkyard to properly disassemble and recycle all the components of your car, you can begin the process yourself.
Responsible recycling involves taking usable parts from the old vehicle and putting them into other vehicles that still have many miles left on them. Some of the most usable parts include:
- Catalytic converters.
- Built-in GPS systems.
- Electrical components.
The metals on and inside of cars, including steel and aluminum, are highly recyclable and can be used to manufacture other car parts after being melted down. One benefit of doing this is that new steel or aluminum does not need to be mined or produced. As a result, car manufacturing costs are reduced.
Moreover, the manufacturing of new metals creates staggering amounts of carbon emissions. In fact, the steel industry is responsible for 5 percent of all greenhouse emissions. Recycling it instead reduces the emissions by 75 percent.
How to Properly Recycle Your Car
The car recycling process is not streamlined, and as previously mentioned, scrap and junkyards are not always the best places to send an old car. Fortunately, all hope is not lost.
While some junkyards are not responsible in the way that they handle vehicle parts, others are. To ensure that your car will be disposed of carefully and in a timely manner, it is essential that you research different businesses that recycle cars. Make sure that a car recycling center is transparent about its processes before giving them your car.
Alternatively, you can take certain steps yourself to recycle the car. Even if you are not experienced with cars, you can take your old vehicle to different shops that can take parts off for you, especially the acids and other fluids than can be dangerous to work with.
Electric Versus Conventional Cars
When it comes to electric vehicles, you might think that they are already environmentally friendly. However, their batteries, the very thing that makes electric vehicles unique, are the most hazardous and destructive component in the vehicles.
Unlike conventional cars, whose batteries are recycled at nearly 99 percent, the batteries of electric cars are more difficult to handle and reuse. This is because they are made of metals that are more harmful and difficult to work with, including cobalt and lithium. These types of batteries cannot simply be given to an auto shop as can be done with traditional batteries.
Thus, if you are recycling your electric vehicle, you must perform further research about which manufacturers and companies take in old electric batteries so they can be effectively reused, repurposed, or recycled.