Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year. 2013’s celebration falls on a Monday. As is the case every year, it is a day dedicated to making a huge environmental impact from millions of tiny actions. Earth Day Network’s 2013 campaign, The Face Of Climate Change, is focused on personalizing climate change by telling the world stories through images shown at thousands of Earth Day events around the world. Earth Day Network, the group founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day to coordinate the annual day of action that builds and invigorates the environmental movement, said that this theme was chosen because of the need to highlight the mounting impact of climate change on individuals around the world.

“Many people think climate change is a remote problem, but the fact is that it’s already impacting real people, animals, and beloved places all over the world, and these Faces of Climate Change are multiplying every day,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “Fortunately, other Faces of Climate Change are also multiplying every day: those stepping up to do something about it. For Earth Day 2013, we’ll bring our generation’s biggest environmental challenge down to size - the size of an individual faced with the consequences.” The Earth Day Network is collecting images of people, animals and places directly threatened by climate change and will display them on April 22 at thousands of events around the world.

The Face Of Climate Change builds upon Earth Day's history as a grassroots movement to initiate change. Inspired by anti-war campus teach-ins, Earth Day founder Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson created the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Each year, more than one billion people participate in Earth Day-related activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Auto recyclers are no exception.

Auto Recyclers & Earth Day

Earth Day gives auto recyclers an opportunity to educate the public about their environmentally-friendly practices. Many host events and invite the public to see their facilities first hand. Doug Reinert, owner of Chuck’s Auto Salvage, Inc. in Douglassville, Pa. (www.chucksas.com), has held Earth Day events for the past four years. During that time the events have recycled 1087 gallons of waste oil and 1117 tires along with other fluids and scrap metal. Reinert is planning the 5th annual event this year.

The community is invited to bring their waste oil, antifreeze, automotive lead batteries and tires (limit 4) to Chuck’s Auto Salvage at no charge on Earth Day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for proper disposal. For every battery collected during this year’s event, Chuck’s Auto Salvage will donate $15 each to the Berks County Conservation District. The company’s goal is to collect at least 50 batteries and support a very worthy organization that has been involved in conservation of the environment in Berks County. Every household that brings something to recycle will also receive a spring planting from the Berks County Conservation District, compliments of Chuck’s Auto Salvage.

Butler Auto Recycling, Inc. in Pensacola, Fla. (www.butlerautorecycling.com), is also doing something similar to honor Earth Day 2013. The company will accept automobile tires, oil or transmission fluid, gas, antifreeze, batteries and Freon from customers on April 22 and will recycle these fluids responsibly. Professional auto recyclers are true stewards of the environment by ecologically disposing of inoperable motor vehicles. According to the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), the industry generates $22 billion in sales per year. Auto recyclers deal strictly with recycling vehicles - domestic and foreign, cars, light- and heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and buses. ARA states that each year approximately 95 percent of vehicles retired from use are processed for recycling. The recycling of these vehicles saves an estimated 85 million barrels of oil that would have been used in the manufacturing of new or replacement parts. Additional energy and resource conservation is realized by recycling rebuildable “core” parts to the automotive parts rebuilding industry.

How Auto Recycling Works

Vehicles are processed with strict environmental guidelines. Most auto recyclers must adhere to local or state guidelines for disposing of hazardous waste. Many also take that a step further through state and national association programs, like ARA’s Certified Auto Recyclers (CAR) and Gold Seal programs.

Typically a vehicle is brought into one of the facility’s dismantling bays where recyclable fluids are properly drained.Many auto recyclers will resell the washer fluid, reuse the gas in company vehicles and the oil in waste oil furnaces to heatthe business.

Undamaged parts are then dismantled from the vehicle, cleaned, tested, inventoried and stored in a warehouse until sold. Many auto recyclers have checked and double-checked the parts at this point. Some of the parts may be painted and small parts are pulled to sell on eBay or the company’s e-Commerce website. The remaining vehicle hulk is then prepared to be scrapped. In contrast, a scrap processing facility may drain fluids, but crushes the entire vehicle and any usable parts along with it.

Without auto recyclers, many valuable and hard-to-find auto parts would be lost to shredders. Professional auto recyclers use computer and satellite communication systems that enable for direct inventory assessment as well as locate parts across town or across the continent, by simply entering the appropriate data into their computer system. This inventory is available for customers to peruse as well. Many auto recyclers list the available parts in their inventories on their websites, eBayPartsLocator.com, HollanderParts.com and Car-Part.com.

There are several auto recyclers who have introduced green practices into the rest of their business. Jay Brosten and Larry Brosten, owners of Auto Parts City, Inc. in Gurnee, Ill., used green design elements for their new facility, which held a grand opening on Earth Day 2010. The complex is heated with recycled oil, operates with natural lighting, uses sophisticated drainage systems, employs an electrical crusher and functions with low-flow plumbing. 

Or, take George Gardner, owner of Gardner Foreign Auto Parts, Inc. in Pompano Beach, Fla. He is a true environmentalist. For chemical containment, the lot has a berm and drums (all properly labeled, of course).Waterproof battery boxes and concrete keep spillage from seeping into the ground and eventually the groundwater. Gardner also takes home all of the business’ paper, can and plastic recycling.

Automotive recycling has evolved into a sophisticated market and technology-driven industry that constantly changes to keep abreast of innovations in automotive technology and manufacturing techniques. Rather than merely crushing wrecked, abandoned, and mechanically disabled motor vehicles, today’s modern recycling facilities have a definitive operational scheme that maximizes the vehicle’s true market value, all the while providing an economic and environmental benefit to the community.

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