To reduce their carbon footprint, people maybe have considered switching to an electric vehicle. But what if an EV isn’t in the cards for you yet? Can you be more environmentally conscious while driving a gas-powered vehicle? Let’s look at what parts of your car may have been sustainably produced, what parts can be recycled once you’re done with them, and how cars are recycled.
Recycled Parts in Vehicles
Not every car manufacturer uses recycled materials, but many are continuing to join this more environmentally friendly method of production. Some companies leading this initiative include Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Ford, and Subaru.
We’ve gathered a list of some parts of your car that may have been recycled and what materials may have been used:
- seats (recycled polyethylene terephthalate bottles or plant materials)
- seat inserts (yarn)
- sound insulators (clothes)
- centre console (electrical appliances)
- wood finish (olive leaves)
- door trim panels (natural fibres)
- mud and splash guards (scrap bumpers)
- bumpers (recycled polypropylene)
Vehicle Parts that Can Be Recycled
Whether you’re exchanging a single part for a new one or giving your car a complete makeover, remember to recycle these parts in the process:
- engine oil
- windows and windshields
- oil filter
- floor mats and carpets
- plastic components
There are many vehicle parts that can be recycled in addition to the ones listed above. If you have your vehicle assessed by a professional recycling service, they can determine which parts can be reused in another vehicle or recycled for other means.
How Are Cars Recycled?
Once a car reaches a certain age and/or is damaged beyond the point of repair, it’s time to scrap it. If you’ve got a car to recycle, avoid selling it to a wrecking yard. You’ll probably get a lot more money for it at a professional automotive recycling service. If the business requires you to fill out paperwork and offers a pickup service, that’s a good sign.
Once a car arrives at the recycling yard, its vehicle identification number (VIN) is looked up to determine which parts may be salvageable. If the car has parts that other people are looking for, they’re pulled off the car, given a quality test, and added to the yard’s inventory for future use. Fluids and other potentially toxic materials are reprocessed or properly disposed of according to the Canadian Auto Recyclers’ Environmental Code.
After everything that can be reused is removed from the vehicle, it’s crushed, flattened, and sent to a shredding facility. The shredding facility then grinds up the vehicle and recycles all the remaining metals (e.g., aluminum and copper).
Donating Your Car
An alternative to recycling your car yourself is to donate it. Organizations like Kidney Car, ALS Canada, and CAMH have donation programs where someone will pick up your vehicle and use the money that comes from recycling it to support various causes. If you have the means to, this is a great way to contribute to a local charity.
Giving Your Car a Second Life
If you’re not ready to part from it just yet, you might be able to bring your old vehicle back to life with some DIY restoration or performance tuning. Stop by your local service shop and/or look for online communities of auto enthusiasts for advice on how to best approach these tasks.