Have you ever wondered what happens to old Betsy, your 1995 rusted, green escort wagon, when she has no more life to live? You're not alone. Many people are unaware of what happens to their old or totaled vehicles when they are no longer fit for life on the road. The answer to this question is simple; Old Betsy is recycled.
Each year it is estimated that 95% of vehicles that have taken their last ride around the block are recycled. Recycling your old or totaled vehicle not only benefits your pocketbook, but it also benefits the environment.
Recycling benefits the environment in a variety of ways. One benefit is the amount of energy that recycling saves. To put into perspective how much energy recycling saves us we look to the steel industry. Recycling steel saves enough energy to power about 18 million households a year. That’s enough energy to power households in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and part of Iowa for a year.
Another benefit recycling provides is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are emitted when we create new products with "virgin" resources. When we use recycled materials to create new products in place of virgin resources less greenhouse gases are emitted into the environment.
Recycling also keeps valuable resources out of our landfills resulting in saved space, but it also prevents hazardous materials such as gasoline, oil, antifreeze, mercury, Freon, brake and transmission fluids from seeping into the ground. If an automobile were to be placed in a landfill these materials would eventually seep out into our soil, air and water, which would result in our environment being filled with these harmful toxins. When a vehicle is recycled these toxins are properly removed and disposed of in a way that protects the environment as well as us.
These are just a few of the many benefits that recycling provides for our environment. Dropping an old or totaled vehicle off at your local recycling center is just the beginning of the recycling process. Although it may be hard to say goodbye to old Betsy, you can leave the recycling center with confidence that she will be put to good use and you never know what new products you might see old Betsy in in the future.