20 Auto Recycling Facts and Figures

Facts about car or automobile recycling

Derelict automobiles stacked in a scrap yard.

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According to auto recycling statistics, the car you are driving today will be a good source of many recyclable materials when it comes time to retire your ride. In fact, around 80% of a car can be recycled.

Much of that takes place while your car is still in service, through automotive aftermarket recycling. Let’s have a look at some basic facts and figures pertaining to auto or car recycling:

  1. Every year, over 25 million tons of material is recycled from old vehicles.
  2. Automobiles are the most recycled consumer product in the world today.
  3. The car recycling industry is the 16th largest in the United States, contributing $25 billion a year to the national GDP. The U.S. automotive recycling industry employs around 100,000 people and earns around $25 billion a year.
  4. Every year, the automobile recycling industry in the U.S. and Canada provides sufficient steel to produce roughly 13 million new vehicles.
  5. Every year, the North American automotive recycling industry saves around 85 million barrels of oil.
  6. The current international automotive recycling industry is about 75 years old.
  7. Across North America, automotive recycling provides around 40% of ferrous metal for the scrap processing industry.
  8. Every year, the amount of hazardous fluids and oils safely reclaimed by auto recyclers is equal to eight Exxon Valdez disasters!
  9. Most auto recyclers are small businesses, with over 75% of all automotive recycling companies employing about 10 people.
  10. Automotive recyclers supply retail and wholesale customers with quality auto parts that cost 20% to 80% less than comparable new auto parts.
  11. Every year, more than 14 million tons of recycled steel is derived from junk vehicles. On average, a car has around 25% of its body made from recycled steel.
  12. Every year, around 27 million cars that reach the end of their useful life from around the world are recovered for recycling.
  13. Just about 80% of a vehicle (by weight) is recycled and the remaining 20% that can’t be recycled is termed “auto shredder residue (ASR),” which includes ferrous and nonferrous metal pieces, dirt, glass, fabric, paper, wood, rubber, and plastic.
  14. In Europe, 75% of a car is recycled.
  15. Approximately 90% of a vehicle's aluminum is recovered and recycled. Although this represents less than 10% of the vehicle by weight, it is nearly 50% by scrap value.
  16. The automotive recycling industry supplies around 37% of all ferrous metal to blast furnaces and smelters across the United States.
  17. Approximately 98% to 99% of car batteries can be recycled.
  18. Car tire recycling is viable and material can be used to produce sandals and roadways.
  19. Automotive recycling reduces accident rates by buying out of order vehicles from the road and keeping roads and highways clear of disabled and abandoned automobiles.
  20. Increasingly, car windshield recycling is becoming common.

All of the above-mentioned facts and figures about auto recycling demonstrate that the worldwide auto recycling industry is a vibrant and entrepreneurial business opportunity.