What can be recycled?
Car parts, seats, engines, antifreeze, batteries, brake fluid, gasoline, motor oil, and tires
Why it wants to be recycled
Recycling auto parts yields resources such as oil, steel, and aluminum. By re-using these materials, we save the energy needed to mine and manufacture new resources.
How to recycle it
Vehicles can be donated to nonprofit groups and sold to automotive recyclers. Some parts, such as tires, lead acid batteries, and gasoline, may be dropped off at your local recycling center. Other items, like oil and lead acid batteries, may to be returned to the dealer or repair shop.
Recycled vehicles are first dismantled to recover fluids and take away parts such as batteries, wheels, tires, fenders, radios, engines, and other materials that can be sold for reuse in other vehicles or other markets. Next, vehicles are crushed and loaded onto a shredder. The shredder grinds the vehicle into pieces from which metals are separated. The recovered metals are sent to mills to be re-melted. The remaining material, known as auto shredder residue (ASR), or “fluff” — which includes the plastic, fiber, and some metals — may be further recycled or sent to landfills.
What do recycled auto parts become?
Scrap tires may be shredded and used as synthetic turf for playgrounds or rubberized asphalt. The recovered fabric can become paper or packaging materials. Glass from the automobile can be recycled to create new glass. Plastics from the dashboard and wire coverings can be recycled to make building materials and clothing. Oil is collected and re-refined into new oil, reconditioned to be used again. Batteries are broken apart and the plastics go to a recycler to be melted and made into pellets while the lead is cleaned, melted, and made into ingots which can be reused for new batteries and other items. The sulfuric acid is either neutralized to turn it into water that meets clean water standards, or it is converted into sodium sulfate, which is used in laundry detergents and glass and textile manufacturing.