It is obvious that the car disposal
market is an essentially environmentally sound industry. Breakers yards recycle as many of the parts that can be commercially removed from vehicles before crushing them and selling the remaining metal via the international salvage markets. This provides an invaluable service to low income earners, allowing them to access second hand parts at considerable discounts when compared to the cost of sourcing new replacements for their worn out devices. Nevertheless, there is an awful lot more to a car than just metal. Cars are increasingly being produced with fuel economy in mind, forcing manufacturers to look for increasingly lighter materials with which to build them. Also, fierce competition for these high value items in uncertain economic times has led to price stabilisation, and in some cases a reduction in cost to the consumer, stunting the growth of the car manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, this need for greater fuel efficiency coupled with economic necessity for low cost vehicles has meant that manufacturers have had little choice but to consider significantly increased levels of plastic in their manufacturing processes. It is this fact that now makes the recycling of cars a lot more important. So, it's not so much a concern around what is happening to the parts of a car that can be viably recycled, it's the large amount of environmentally disastrous material that cannot be totally recycled, and consequently needs to be properly disposed of, that is presenting us with a long term ecological issue of considerable weight.
Commercial imperatives mean that the private sector will look for the cheapest means of disposing of the unwanted materials.
Private enterprises are essentially calibrated to keep profits high by keeping their operational costs to a minimum. Whilst there are EEC directives restricting disposal practices, the only way of knowing that waste materials are being disposed of in an entirely ethical way is by submitting scrap vehicles to one of the approved recycling facilities. But this is likely to cost you money rather than earning you a few quid.
Fortunately, there is now, at least, one alternative. A social enterprise has been set up to help with a number of issues. It primarily removes the problem of car owners incurring costs for responsibly recycling their waste vehicles by offering free collection. It also ensures that only the most environmentally sound facilities are selected for processing the vehicles. In addition, a proportion of the scrap value of the car is also donated to charity.
This is a win, win, win scenario, as opposed to a win, possible lose, definite lose scenario! When our future depends on reducing the impact of environmental pollutants, it pays to be vigilant about what we do with our waste. Losing out on a few quid today may buy you a better future!