Oct 14 2008
In Part one of our blog we talked about the steps of recycling a car. Today we will tell you about a few of the items that are made from recycled car parts.
New and innovative ideas are being brought forth constantly, and we are happy to say that there are currently many uses for your recycled auto parts, and with increases in technology and innovation, there are bound to be increasingly more as time goes on. The answers to many of our questions on how to sustain our environment, and combat climate change and global warming lie in finding new and innovative ways to re-use and recycle more existing materials and finding ways to reduce manufacturing of new materials. Recycling just one car saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.
AN ABUNDANCE OF CAR TIRES
220 billion car tires are discarded each year in the U.S. More than 80% of these are pulled from the waste stream and recycled. In the State of California alone there is estimated to be 32 million scrap tires taking up landfill space. This is a concern as the tires become breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry diseases such as West Nile Virus.
Caltrans is finding solutions to these problems by incorporating recycled rubber into pavement base aggregates that are built into new highways and roadways. Base layers currently contain 8% recycled rubber from auto tires. Up to 50% of Caltrans base aggregates for roads contain recycled rubber. This is an improvement to previously used materials. Due to the elastic nature of the material, the roads made with the partial rubber are stronger, provide more stability and reduce cracking according to a Caltrans 2006 report. This material is slightly more costly per ton, but will need less repair in the long term.
California State Parks Department is also looking at a recycled rubber crumb material to use as footing along State Park trails and footpaths in wilderness areas. Environmental impact reports are still being done due to concerns about run-off and contamination of underground water sources or ingestion by animals. In the construction industry, recycled car tires are being turned in to carpet pads for flooring.
Rubberized AC (asphalt/concrete) is being used for roads and building materials. This material has some drawbacks in that it is costlier to buy,(about $29) per ton than conventional AC (about $14 per ton), and road workers state that the mixture has a “gummier” consistency that makes it harder to work with when heated than the conventional mixture. On the positive side; it takes less rubberized AC to perform equally well and lasts longer than conventional asphalt concrete.
RECYCLED AUTO GLASS
Tiles are made from recycled auto glass. It is used in flooring, landscaping materials, counter tops and porcelain. Auto glass is traded overseas in the secondary commodities exchanges. Indonesia and Southeast Asia imports auto glass to be used for making art glass beads and jewelry. Every ton of recycled glass avoids using 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone and 151 pounds of feldspar according to EarthWorks Group. Using recycled glass to make new glass cuts related air pollution by up to 20% (wmich.edu). Mining and transporting raw materials produces about 385 pounds of waste for every ton of glass that is made. If recycled glass is substituted for even half of the raw materials, the waste is cut by more than 80%! Recycling 1 ton of glass saves the equivalent of 10 gallons of oil. Most bottles and jars manufactured today contain at least 25% recycled glass. Glass never wears out and can be recycled forever.
RECYCLED CAR BATTERIES
Nearly 99 million wet cell lead-acid batteries are manufactured annually. New batteries currently contain up to 90% recycled batteries.Most places that sell automotive batteries will also accept them to recycle, 100% of the batteries turned in will be recycled. 60% of the world’s lead supply comes from recycled car batteries.
RECYCLED STEEL AND SCRAP IRON
More than 14 million tons of steel from end-of-life vehicles is recycled annually. That is the equivalent of 13.5 million automobiles! A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel.
India and China are the biggest importers of scrap steel and iron in the world. The chances are good that your recycled car could end up on the other side of the world as construction materials or other manufactured products. According to AMM (American Metal Market), which trades scrap metal worldwide; the prices for scrap metal have risen from $72.50 per ton in June of 2001 to $515.00 per ton in June of 2008.
67% of all steel made in the U.S. is made with recovered steel. This process uses only a fraction of the energy required to produce steel by tradition methods. This allows the U.S. steel industry to be able to compete more effectively in the global marketplace. The amount of energy saved each year from steel recycling is equal to the electricity needs of 18,000,000 homes per year. That’s enough energy to last Los Angeles residents for eight years according to the Steel Recycling Institute.
RECYCLED CAR PARTS
Many of the parts from your car that the dismantler removes in the 2nd stage of the recycling process are re-sold through wholesale and retail outlets all over the world. This reduces the need for the manufacture of new parts and the savings are passed onto the consumer with lower pricing for the used or reconditioned parts.
In addition to the energy saving benefits to recycling, there is an added benefit to the economy. While traditional waste management creates relatively few jobs, the recycling industry employs more than 2.5 percent of manufacturing workers. Nationwide recycling and remanufacturing activities account for approximately one million manufacturing jobs and more than $100 billion in revenue.