Recycling of materials is a huge industry worldwide, and not less so as far as the car industry is concerned. Recycled mainly for their iron and steel content, which in turn will be used in new cars and other products. Raking in millions every year, it is estimated that in the UK alone 1.3 million cars are scrapped every year (2009) So, it is not only because of the monetary value attached to recycling, but cars are also recycled in order to join a movement that support a more environment-friendly attitude.
- Once a car is up for recycling it will be sold to a junk/scrap yard or recycling facility. The first step involves removing usable parts such as batteries and tyres; not forgetting the removal of all inflammables such as brake fluid, oil, petrol and diesel to reduce risks including inhalation of chemical fumes when the car is crushed.
- The next step involves crushing, the flattening of the vehicle. This is done in order to reduce the body to a size that can be more easily managed when it is transported to the industrial shredders (for the next step in the process to have all usable materials recycled). The crusher is a huge machine, which literally crushes or flattens the frame into small pieces.
- The small, manageable pieces are taken to an industrial shredder where the remains will be ripped into smaller pieces still; this takes no more than 45 seconds. During this process the usable steel remains will be separated from other unusable materials and sent to steel mills for the final recycling process, which involves mixing the recovered steel with other steel products in order to produce a strengthened product.
- Now the steel can be sold to factories where the manufactures will build new vehicles. The cycle is complete. The new vehicle is used for a number of years and at the end of its lifespan, instead of ending up in the landfill, the usable parts are recycled and used again, not only because steel and iron are expensive materials, but also because we are becoming more aware of the so-called green movement – to re-use any and all materials as often as possible.
The benefits of recycling cars, i.e. contributing to the ideals of the green movement by saving usable products, speak for themselves, and these benefits will undoubtedly be felt more and more positively in years to come.