Approximately 95 percent of vehicles retired from U.S. roadways are recycled each year, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and that’s a lot of vehicles, since each year 12 million of them reach the end of their useful lives. At $25 billion per year, auto recycling is the 16th largest industry in the country. Have you ever stopped and wondered what happens to a junked car, though? Keep reading to find out how the process works and see some of the unique ways car parts find new life.
How Auto Recycling Works
How much of a junked car gets recycled? More than you might expect. We spoke with Thomas Buechel, owner of Rockaway Recycling in Rockaway, N.J., and founder of iScrap App, a directory of scrap yards, who told us that most of a car gets recycled.
“Out of that 3,500 pound car, 90 to 93 percent of it is going to be recycled,” Buechel said.
If you’re looking to get rid of a car that no longer works, you can take it to a junk yard or auto wrecker, where you will likely walk away with some money, assuming you have a clean title. iScrap App recently added auto wreckers to the directory, so take a look if you’re interested. This is also a useful way to find car parts if you would like to repair a car yourself.
Once a car arrives at an auto wrecker, the facility’s owner will determine whether to scrap the car – meaning send the metal to be recycled – or sell the parts. “It all depends on the year, make and model, and if they think it’s going to be a popular car or not,” Buechel explained.