I know the average person goes to an auto junkyard to save money on parts. Nobody says “I go to junkyards to promote recycling and save the environment.” The truth is though, that is exactly what a junkyard is. It is a recycling facility that promotes the reduction of waste and reusing already manufactured parts.
While we have a long way to go in terms of saving the earth consider this. In 2018 10.98 million vehicles were produced in the US and 12 million were destroyed. That means we are actually destroying more then we are making. The junkyard industry helps prevent new manufacturing and helps promote the proper destruction of vehicles. Below I will discuss how auto junkyards benefit the environment and why you should support them.
How Auto Junkyards Benefit the Environment
When vehicles are no longer used, needed, desired, etc sometimes they are left to sit and rust. These vehicles contain hazardous chemicals and compounds that can get into the ground and contaminate the local eco-system. The shame of it is, they are full of valuable metals and possibly parts that can be reused for other purposes.
Consider a car has about 30,000 parts and 80% of them are recyclable, that is a lot of waste if the vehicle just sits somewhere. When a junked car enters the vehicle recycling process through an auto salvage it begins it’s transformative journey. An auto junkyard will take these wrecked vehicles and either fix them up or strip em down for scrap metal and reselling used parts.
Here are the 3 main auto junkyard benefits to the environment:
1. Waste Reduction
Auto salvos are full of perfectly functioning used vehicle parts that have a ton of life left in them. if these parts were to end up in a landfill, that would be wasteful and a detriment to the environment. Even car batteries that are dead can be recharged. Junkyards really do a good job of making sure all of the vehicle is reused, repurposed, and properly disposed of.
Imagine the number I mentioned earlier 10.98 million vehicles are produced each year in the US. What would happen to the environment if there was no recycling program for vehicles? What kind of waste would we be sending to your local landfill.
2. Reduction of Energy By Reducing Metal Production
Producing new metal is an activity the uses a lot of energy and resources. When metal is mined fossil fuels are used and dangerous pollutants are dumped into the water, ground, and released in the air. With our global economy reliant on metal for new vehicles, computers, cell phones, structures, airplanes, etc…imagine how much new metals are produced each year.
About 68% of a car is made up of steel and aluminum. All of which is recyclable. When these metals are sold for scrap, they can be made into new products and eliminates the need to mine new metal. This reduces environmental stress and reduces the amount of energy production. It’s not just metal either, 86% of tires tires get recycled that’s about 209 million tires. 62% of those get made into alternative fuel sources. Imagine 209 million tires sitting around each year!
3. Reduction of Pollution
The average vehicle contains 5-10 gallons of man made chemicals that are extremely dangerous to the environment. This includes battery acid, power steering fluid, and anti-freeze. Imagine any of these chemicals getting into the ground water. These would be toxic to all humans, animals, and plant life. What kind of carcinogens are in these chemicals, the results could be devastating.
Vehicles that don’t make it to junkyards run the risk of contaminating the local environment. When a vehicle is handled by a junkyard it has to adhere to strict state environmental laws for the proper handling and recycling of hazardous waste. This is why when junked vehicles come to the yard they don’t go straight out for pick and pull. They need to be processed in order to ensure that dangerous chemicals are managed.
How Auto Junkyards Benefit the Environment…
I know I run an auto junkyard blog and I’m over here singing the praises of these dirty scrap yards, but don’t miss my point. When you participate in junking your vehicle or buying salvage parts, or recharging your car battery you are doing a service to the environment. You should actually feel good about that. These places at face value save you money, but in the bigger picture actually help save the planet!