Things die, it’s a way of life. What do we do when things die? Throw them away or bury them, but what happens when your car decides to call it quits? The answer to that question is very simple; we recycle the vehicle.
Currently, about 75 percent of junked vehicles are shredded to recover iron and steel. After the ferrous material is magnetically separated, the remaining 25 percent is comprised of other non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminum, rubber and a mixture of plastics. The remaining 25 percent can also be recycled. We’re going to take a look at a few different items that fall within the 25 percentile.
Today’s brake pads and shoes consist of a mixture of synthetic materials in addition to copper. Most brake pads contain about 15-30 percent copper. Recycling brake pads means less mining for virgin material, which can lead to dust and waste gases such as sulfur dioxide which have harmful effects on the environment.
Windshields and other auto glass can pose a problem for recycling. Automobile shredder residue contains between 15 to 20 percent of glass originating from windshields, side windows and sunroofs, most of which is not normally recovered and ends up in landfills. The reason that most auto glass ends up in landfills is because most windshields have two layers of glass and few companies have the technology to remove the inner plastic layer. Even though it may be difficult, it is important to recycle auto glass. Recycling auto glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent.
Finally, Oil filters are recyclable because they are made of steel. Recycling metal saves up to 74 percent energy and 40 percent water consumption. Recycling oil filters also reduces air pollution by about 86 percent and water pollution by 76 percent. One ton of recycled oil filters yields 1,700 pounds of steel, 30 gallons of used oil and saves 10 cubic yards of landfill space. The benefits to the land, air and soil is immense.
Recycling vehicles and their parts saves and estimated 85 million barrels of oil a year. So next time you think recycling your vehicle is not that big of a deal remember how this simple step can save valuable natural resources and better the environment we live in.