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Automotive recycling is one of the most important steps that may be taken to help protect the environment. There are millions of auto vehicles worldwide and these contain materials that may be recycled for other uses. When automobiles are recycled, the amount of metal waste that normally fills wrecking yards is decreased. Crushed vehicles are often taken to steel mills, but many of these have materials that may have been able to be reused or repurposed. Plastic, metals, glass, and tires can be recycled and reused in other forms.

The Breakdown of Materials

As technology continues to advance, so too does a car’s composition. Vehicles are no longer made with the same materials they once were. Many of today’s vehicles are lighter than their predecessors. More plastics are used in today’s vehicle designs and some car manufacturers continue to look for environmentally friendly materials. Most vehicles are composed of non-ferrous metals, battery, glass, rubber, plastics, carpets, fluids, and electrical parts. Many of these may successfully be recycled.

 Metals, Aluminum, and Plastics

More than 70% of a new car’s design is composed of metal. This metal can be successfully recovered and converted for other uses. Aluminum is one metal that is frequently used in car designs. Also as more plastic is being used, a car is now a virtual storehouse of recyclable materials. Plastic serves many purposes, as it is lightweight and durable. Recycling a vehicle’s metal, aluminum, and plastic content helps the environment while ensuring that durable materials continue to be used in other ways.

Benefits of Using Aluminum New Vehicle Designs

Aluminum provides many advantages to the auto industry and those who recycle metal will find that aluminum is one of the best metals to work with. The majority of aluminum recovered from a vehicle remains its quality and is easily used for other purposes. Aluminum is a durable metal that is always in high demand. Due to its benefits, many find that recycling aluminum from automobiles is one of the most effective ways to recycle vehicles.

Common Plastics Used

Vehicle manufacturers use a variety of plastics in their design. Each plastic type has its own benefits and advantages in the auto industry. Likewise, each of these can be recycled and are in high demand. One of the most concerning plastic forms is PVC, as it has been linked to hormonal disruptions in the human body. As concerns mount surrounding PVC, alternative plastic forms are coming to the auto industry forefront. Common plastics used include Polypropylene (PP), Polyurethane (PU), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), and Polyethylene (PE).

Vehicle Operating Fluids

Vehicle operating fluids, such as motor oil, are toxic to the environment and must be dealt with carefully. Automobile owners should understand the proper way of collecting and handling motor oil and use proper disposal methods. If everyone would collect waste and used oil and bring them to a recycling facility, the environment would be in better shape. The oils can be cleaned and reused by fuel industries as well.

Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters contain precious metals, which may be recycled. Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are used in the converters construction. Each of these metals is highly valuable and composes the platinum group of metals. By recycling catalytic converters, metal industries can reclaim these very important and precious metals. Palladium, platinum, and rhodium are considered rare and recovering these metals is best for the environment.


Automobile batteries consist of caustic, harmful materials and must not be disposed of with normal, household trash and waste. There are specific methods that must be utilized in order to dispose of the batteries. Fortunately, auto batteries may be recycled, ensuring that these dangerous materials are put to good use and not left in the environment where they can cause harm. Many automobile batteries are composed of lead and sulfuric acid. Recycling these materials is the best and safest method for disposing of these items.


A good portion of an automobile is made of glass, specifically the windshield. This glass may be recycled and converted into new materials. Automobiles typically use two different types of glass in vehicle design. These include toughened and laminated glass. Each recycling plant has their own methods and rules for removing glass. 


Tires serve many uses and are one of the most beneficial recyclable materials found on a vehicle. In addition to metal, tires can be converted into a number of uses. One popular use for recycled tires is to break down the material into fuel. The rubber from tires may be crumbled or granulated and used in other industries. Recycled tires may be used as the underlying support materials for carpets and in ground cover for sporting events.

Various Tire Disposal Options

Those recycling tires will find there are a number of options available. Tires may be disposed of for use in grinding, re-treading, cryogenic fragmentation, microwave technology and for energy recovery. Each state has different rules regarding tire disposal so make certain to call ahead and determine your local facility’s policy. Recycling tires is one of the most important ways to help protect the environment. Uses for recycled tires are many.  

Uses of Recycled Tires

Tires can serve a number of purposes once recycled. There are many beneficial uses in addition to tires being recycled for fuel. Some popular ways tires can be reused include for sports tracks, for roofing materials, such as tiles, and on road surfaces. Due to the thickness of rubber, noise control products can be created from recycled tires. Other uses include coastal defenses and boat fenders.



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