Old Car

Got a Clunker? Consider Recycling.

With an increased focus on sustainability and energy reform from the Obama administration, now is the perfect time to talk about recycling. No, not about the importance of recycling of plastic bottles and paper, but it is the perfect time to talk about the benefits of recycling your old vehicle. While many used car owners are able to resell their cars, some vehicles are so old that they are considered “end of life” vehicles. These cars are those that need repairs above and beyond the value of the car and are inoperable due to mechanical failure. Every year, as many as 11 million vehicles in America reach the end of their useful life.

Typically, when a vehicle reaches the end of its useful life, it is taken to an auto recycle where any re-saleable parts and environmentally harmful materials are removed. The car is then sold to a shredding operation that breaks down the vehicle into small pieces that usually end up at landfill sites. Currently, the majority of your car ends up in a landfill, amounting to more than 408,000 tons of car materials in a landfill site every year. But did you know that almost 75 percent of your old car can be recycled?

If you have a car that is close to or has already reached the end of its useful life, consider recycling that clunker, rather than dropping it off at a junkyard. Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Do your research!

Some cities, such as San Francisco, offer Buy Back programs for old vehicles meeting certain requirements.

2. Find a Charitable Organization.

Often times, you can recycle your vehicle and donate 100 percent of the proceeds raised through re-saleable parts to a Charity. Habitat for Humanity has a Cars for Homes program and organizations such as Green Vehicle Disposal allows you to choose from a variety of charities to donate to.

3. Make a Green Choice!

Once you’ve donated your old clunker, consider replacing it with a more fuel efficient car. Even if you’d prefer not to purchase a hybrid, there are still many options available that can achieve over 25 city miles per gallon.