In many countries, particularly the USA, the automobile is the single most recycled consumer product. Despite cars long being the bane of environmentalists, the auto recycling industry is vibrant and entrepreneurial; environmentally friendly, market-driven, and sustainable.

Cars are lasting longer than ever before, but in the end, all vehicles have a lifespan and end up scrapped. “Scrap”, though, is, perhaps, an unfair descriptor to define the unroadworthy vehicle. Indeed, it’s fair to say its components take on a whole new life after it can no longer be driven. Tires, wheels, car seats, carpets, oil filters, batteries, windshield glass, steel and iron, radios, radiators, airbags, catalytic converters, transmissions, and mats – yes, all have value, all can help improve the environment.


This is borne out by the latest statistics which indicate that:

  • Up to 80% of a vehicle is recycled
  • The average new car contains about 25% of its body from recycled steel.
  • Every year, over 25 million tons of materials are recycled from old vehicles.
  • Every year, the number of hazardous fluids and oils reclaimed safely by auto recyclers is equal to 8 Exxon Valdez disasters!
  • More than 14 million tons of recycled steel in derived from junk vehicles.
  • Approximately 90 percent of the aluminum in a vehicle is recovered and recycled.
  • 43 200 tonnes are recycled in the world per annum


The automotive recycling industry has demonstrated a great capacity to extend the lifespan for most of the items in a typical automobile. For example, car tires can serve to make fuel, artificial turf, mulch for landscaping, and even rubberized asphalt for roadways!

Similarly, the recycling of catalytic converters has become ever-more effective. Now, higher yields, vastly improved awareness of the value of scrap catalytic converters, and more efficient logistics are delivering a growing market that is both profitable and environmentally friendly.