Green Disposal

A look At The Future Of Auto Recycling



Today’s marketplace of vehicles is comprised of an electric array of makes and models from various beleaguered manufacturers around the world. No matter where or how they are constructed, these vehicles will eventually reach the end of their useful lives. The way in which professional automotive recyclers have processed these vehicles in the past differs widely from how we process them now. There’s already writing on the wall indicating that how we process them in the future will differ just as much, possibly even more.

With good reason, the future of automotive recycling will be painted with a green brush. What may be surprising to some is that professional automotive recyclers and dismantlers, like those that belong to our local and national trade associations, welcome this responsibility with open arms.

The trick in the future to further advance the “green” way in which vehicles are processed may indeed have more to do with the technological advancements of the automobile than with any other single factor. However, these technological advancements will further escalate the need for the professional recycler. This is especially true when it comes to hybrids and electrical vehicles, and the multitude of battery components that are associated with each and every one of these increasingly popular vehicles.

It’s a sad fact that as of today, the vehicle disposal landscape still includes anyone and everyone, whether licensed or not, utilizing a plot of land that may or may not be legally zoned for auto recycling. The illegal auto recycler (“Outsider”) is only interested in making a quick buck at the expense of harming the environment. The illegal operators’ goal probably isn’t doing massive ecological damage, but it’s the end result of these shady operations. Hybrids and plug-in electrics will only make the damage worse.

Speaking generally about the newer models, it is fair to say that the vehicles on our roads will continue to become much more technical. Safely recycling these vehicles will require a level of sophistication consistent with a business model that is willing to develop, nurture and train talented people to properly process them. What I like about these newer, fuel efficient, environmentally-friendly techno-vehicles is that perhaps for the first time automotive recyclers may get the support we need from the public at large with respect to how and where these vehicles should be processed. Today it is widely recognized that 95 per cent of the vehicles on the roads will be sent to a processor for dismantling. It’s also a matter of record that an average of 84 per cent of a vehicle is recyclable. What far too often is not reported is exactly who these vehicle processors are and what their level of commitment is to the eco-friendly vehicle disposal movement.

The truth of the matter is that only the professional automotive recycler will have the necessary equipment and infrastructure to dispose of a vehicle properly and safely in accordance with specific automotive recycling industry standards. That’s actually pretty much how you tell the difference between a legitimate recycling professional and a scrapyard operator who simply doesn’t care.

When you look at how traditional scrap metal processors handle and process end-of-life vehicles you see very little care taken to safely remove all hazardous fluids including mercury switches. It must be acknowledged, however, that automotive recyclers are only part of the overall solution as to what happens to the end-of-life vehicle.

Auto manufacturers play a vital role in the process because of how computerized and complex modern day vehicles have become. It is imperative that all auto manufacturers provide recyclers with the relevant information to help us properly process and dismantle each vehicle.
A primary goal should be to reduce the amount of automotive shredder residue (ASR) going to landfills after a vehicle has gone through an automotive shredder. To accomplish this goal, professional recyclers will have to invest in a lot of costly equipment to help reduce even more waste. Governments need to appreciate and acknowledge this investment.

There are also wide selections of new materials that will be used in hybrids and electrical vehicles that are being planned for the future and as always professional automotive recyclers and dismantlers are willing and able to do our part to help recycle and reuse these materials.
If the vehicles that will inhabit our roads in the future are built with care and consideration for seamless and efficient recycling, then less ecological harm will result to the environment.

Auto recyclers are big believers of this philosophy and support the need to produce better vehicles, not only for business reasons but for our own genuine concern for the environment, and we are willing to participate in any way possible. Help us contribute to a better planet, and give your support to one of the most beneficial ways to dispose of products of all kinds with special attention to what can be reused in the process!

David Gold is the co-owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, an auto recycling facility with locations in Toronto, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York. He can be reached by telephone at 416-286-8686 or via email at david@standardautowreckers.com.

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