Hidden Heroes

March 13, 2019 — For health and safety reasons, auto recyclers don’t tend to wear capes. Their efforts on behalf of the environment, however, are downright heroic. Not unlike many-a-masked crusader,  the industry’s good work too often goes unaccredited. It is high time that recyclers let the world know exactly why their work is so important. Here are a few facts that may help.

Around the world, it is estimated that modern auto recycling methods have decreased oil production by 80 million barrels per annum—barrels that would be required to manufacture new vehicles.

 Manufacturing Process: 

By the time it has been driven off the dealer’s lot, a vehicle has already been responsible for about a third of its lifetime total carbon dioxide emissions. From raw material extraction to parts manufacturing, the more use that we can get from waste metals, the more use that can be made from a vehicle’s materials, the higher the carbon savings.

• Vehicles are made up of alloys, plastics, and rubbers.

• About 2,500 kilograms of iron ore must be mined to build an average vehicle

• There is a wide range of extraction of fossil fuels in plastics

• The parts are then transported to other locations for the completion of the rest of the manufacturing process

• The transportation of the products by road or overseas also causes a significant amount of pollution through the release of greenhouse gas emissions.

• The rest of the process involves a range of tasks such as metal cutting, pressing, polishing, grinding, welding, plating, and painting

 End of Life:

⦁ During the end-of-life, cycle recyclers must be wary of the harmful coolants and fluids that need to be dismantled properly.

⦁ Once the fluids are safely removed and the mechanical parts are taken out, the unusable components of the vehicle are then scrapped and shredded

⦁ The individual metals are separated and reused to make new vehicles and other common products

• More  than 90 percent of the material can be repurposed, making vehicles the most recyclable engineered goods in the world

What can be recycled?

⦁ An average vehicle is 65 percent high-grade steel

⦁ Aluminum accounts for another 10 percent and one kilogram of it saves 14 kilowatts of energy

⦁ Copper and gold exist in smaller quantities in-vehicle electronic systems

⦁ The three most valuable rare Earth metals—Palladium, platinum, chromium, and rhodium—can be recovered from catalytic converters

The other kind of green savings

In most cases, consumers are saving hundreds of dollars when buying recycled parts as oppose to buying the part from a manufacturer

Canadian recyclers offer identical parts at a significantly lower cost than OEMs—offering savings as high as 80 percent

⦁ Example: 2010 Chevrolet Malibu

⦁ The average cost of the 2010 Malibu’ intake manifold through an auto recycler is about $120

⦁ For a brand new A/C condenser, the cost is about $600

⦁ The average listed price for a recycled OEM A/C condenser is $125, a difference of approximately $475—about 79.2 percent


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