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Afterlife Of A Car: Do Cars Get Recycled?

Recycled cars

Providing convenience, flexibility and mobility, cars are used by most people in Australia with 92.5% of Australians owning a car. If you want to get specific, that’s roughly 1.8 cars in each household! Although 2020 was the year of the lowest sales since 2003, the automobile industry is resilient, selling 916,968 cars alone last year. Even with less new car sales, there still remains a large second-hand car sales market in Australia. So it’s obvious there are a plethora of cars being sold, albeit new and used in Australia. So it begs the question, what’s happening with all the older cars people are getting rid of? Are they scrapped? Crushed? Used for parts? Are the materials recycled? Reused? Repurposed? In fact, it’s all of the above! If you’re wanting to learn more about if your car can be recycled, including which parts and existing recycling programs you can partake in, then read ahead, as Novus has you covered!

Can My Car be Recycled?

Yes, it can! Recycling in Australia repurposes enough steel to produce 13 million new vehicles every year. Not only does recycling reduce landfill and benefit the environment, but it also decreases the need to mine new steel, which keeps the price for steel and other goods at lower costs. Sending your car to be recycled can help aid the environment, as well as the economy. Reusing old car parts is also a cost-effective way for motorists to replace car parts, enabling them to cut expensive costs associated with brand new pieces, while still allowing them to complete their repairs, albeit more economically. How about that! Parts that are incapable of being recycled can also be repurposed in different ways, meaning that with the correct handling, most if not all parts can avoid landfill, leaving little to no waste. For unrecyclable car parts, pieces can be reused, repurposed, used for parts or sold.

How Do I Know When My Car is Ready To Be Recycled?

The average lifespan of today’s car is commonly quoted as eight years or 240,000 kilometres. If you have a car that you’ve kept well maintained though, you could be looking at longer. While we can’t guarantee how long a car will last, it’s known that well-built cars that are routinely serviced can have their lifespan extended. However, if your car is creeping up or even extending the 320,000 kilometres, you’ve probably noticed maintenance is just around the corner. Regardless of these facts, there are a few telltale signs that indicate it could be time to opt into recycling your vehicle.

  1. The Repairs Outweigh The Value of The Car: If you know for a fact you’re paying more to get your car repaired than what it is worth, it’s time to consider calling the removalist. Investing more into a car needing multiple repairs will likely leave you spending more money on maintenance than it would be purchasing a new car.
  2. Your Vital Systems are Failing: If vital elements of your car are failing, take this as a sign to recycle your car. As some of the integral components for the functionality of your car, vital components like the transmission or engine, are some of the most expensive to refurbish. To avoid paying for more on a car that is a lost cause, it could be more beneficial in looking at recycling your parts and upgrading to a new model.
  3. Long Distance Driving Is Off-Limits: If you’re afraid to drive further distances due to the fear your car will break down, this should be an indicator to look into recycling your car and upgrading to a newer model, that is both safer and more reliable. We know that it’s hard parting with older cars that you may have emotional attachments to. However, for your safety, it’s never worth the risk of driving a car with wear and tear, rusting engines and old brakes that wouldn’t compare to newer models.
  4. You Can’t Sell It: If you have an older model that requires work, has a long history of repairs, or a car that is no longer road worthy, there’s a good chance it’ll remain on your drive unsold. If you no longer want your car, but you’re struggling to sell it, trading it in at a recycling dealer is a good option. To help you determine if this is the right path for you, we recommend you receive a quote from a reputable recycling dealer. You never know, you might get more back in what it’s worth as scrap than what you can from trading or privately selling.

What Parts of The Car Can be Recycled?

While most people know that the steel from cars can be repurposed, many are still unaware that there’s so much more that can be gained from recycling.

The less obvious parts capable of being recycled include:

  • Tyres
  • Glass
  • Windows and windscreens
  • Rubber hoses
  • Engine oil
  • Batteries
  • Carpet
  • Transmission
  • Steering wheels
  • Seats
  • Mats
  • Radiators and
  • Oil fitters

As car manufacturers move further towards sustainability, newer models are created with recycled parts or are designed with recyclability in mind. If you are interested in recycling your car, don’t fret, you don’t have to try to take it apart yourself. Not only would this task be a giant headache for non-professionals, but it’s also potentially dangerous!

How Does the Recycling Process Work?

Recycling car parts isn’t a simple and easy process. To prevent ecological harm, great care has to be taken that each recycled piece is correctly removed and repurposed. Firstly liquids from the car need to be expelled and depending on what liquid this is, there is an appropriate disposal procedure that takes place. If due care is not taken, chemicals can leak into the surrounding ecosystems, which has been proven to be extremely harmful to both flora and fauna, including us humans. To prevent ecological damage, any toxic chemicals and liquids are carefully removed, and followed by professionals who assess which of the vehicle’s pieces are viable for reuse. The remaining parts are evaluated whether they can be safely recycled. At the end of the process, usually, around 70% of the vehicle’s materials can be recycled or repurposed.

Are There Recycling Programs in Australia?

Some might wonder, why would I bother recycling my car, when I can just sell it myself? Sometimes selling an older car, especially undriveable cars, is near impossible, so this is where recycling eases your burden. If your car is not roadworthy and is taking up space on your property, recycling can be a way you can earn extra money. With the bonus of saving the environment at the same time.

If you are interested in recycling your car, don’t fret, you don’t have to try to take it apart yourself. Not only would this task be a giant headache for anyone who is a trained professional in dismantling cars, but it’s also potentially dangerous! To make recycling as straightforward and convenient as possible, numerous auto recycling services are available, with professionals who are qualified at retrieving and disassembling a variety of vehicles. In return, you get rid of your car, earn some cash, help heal the environment and without risking your safety!

Recycling cars can be a lengthy, costly, and environmentally taxing process. The most sustainable option is for you to take care of your car and extend its useful life. This applies to components like tyres, which can have their life extended by avoiding behaviours that wear them out quicker, like breaking hard. If you want to learn more about extending the life of your tyres, you can read our recent article, where we cover the care tips you need to know!

If there are parts of your car that need replacing, we always advocate utilising recycling companies that ethically recycle, dismantle and dispose of car parts. At Novus, where we can, we repair your broken windscreens and when in need of replacement, we discard the old windscreen properly and appropriately. Get in touch with us today to receive your quote, or take a look at our services list to see the full range of the services we provide. Get in touch with us today to receive your quote, or take a look at our services list to see the full range of  services we provide.


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