Why and How Junk Cars are Recycled

There are many great reasons to donate a car to charity. These reasons include getting a tax deduction for your car donation, moving an old car off of your driveway or out of the garage, wanting your old car to go to help someone and getting old cars off the road through recycling.

Many cars which we get donated to charity are very old. Some have significant body damage or mechanical problems. You may look at that old, junk car and wonder why anyone, including a charity would derive any benefit from your donation.  Believe it or not, even if your junk or salvage car can't be re-sold at auction, as a charity, we are grateful when you choose to donate an old junker to charity rather than sell it and we are more than happy to provide you with a tax receipt for your car donation in return.

In addition to the benefits the charity receives from your car donation and the tax deduction you receive, the environmental benefits from recycling the steel and other parts of the vehicle will have you feeling really good.

Here’s a glimpse at the recycling process that kicks into gear when you donate a junk car to charity and the decision is made to send it to a salvage yard.

The scrap yard  purchases the junk car from the charity which received your vehicle donation and tows it to their yard to begin the car recycling process.

The scrap yard starts by making a detailed inventory of the car parts and removing all parts from the engine and transmission down to the doors handles, mirrors and seats. The most valuable part of a car is, as you probably guessed, the engine, but everything else, from the glass windows and tires to the rubber mats and truck liners can be recycled and used to create something new or sold as replacement parts.

After all the other parts of the car have been harvested, the next step is to drain the fluids and remove the battery and any other hazardous material.

Finally, when all that remains in the shell of the car, the vehicle is put through a steel crusher.

The crushed cars are then shipped out to recycling centers around the country where they are shredded into small pieces and melted down so the steel can be used to create new products.

The only part of a recycled car that may end up in a landfill is the stuffing or fluff on any of the seats that could not be recycled. Even the fluids can be drained, recycled and eventually be reused in other vehicles.

Since, according to Wikipedia, approximately 65 percent of your average car is made up of steel and iron, by recycling all that valuable steel and iron, you are conserving iron ore, coal and limestone, all of which would otherwise have to be used to mine that steel and iron.  In addition to the mining resources being saved, recycling metal also takes 74% less energy than making metal from scratch. That means that besides keeping millions of tons of steel out of landfills, the vehicle recycling industry is reducing the consumption of an estimated 85 million barrels of oil every year!

With approximately 10 million cars getting recycled every year, you get the idea of the impact that choosing to recycle your car has on our environment and economy.

Of course, the best part is that on top of all the good you are doing for the environment, by choosing to donate a junk car or a salvage car to charity, you are making it possible for charities nationwide to fund their charitable programs and volunteer efforts.

So, thank you for making the choice to donate. You are making a difference in more ways than one.  

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Why and How Junk Cars are Recycled