It takes a lot of resources to make auto parts. Metal, plastic, and a whole bunch of other materials need to be mined or made, melted down and shaped, and finally shipped off to be inserted into cars. It’s a lengthy process that takes a lot of effort, and produces a number of effects that are harmful to the planet. Recycling used parts cuts down on a lot of this effort. The materials have already been extracted and shaped, meaning they just need to be melted down and reshaped before they can be used again. Sometimes, the part can even just be directly reused in a car that needs it!
A huge number of auto parts are recyclable, with a few interesting surprises in the mix. Curious about what those are? Here are some of the more surprising auto parts that can be recycled.
With Adequate Preparation, Automotive Maintenance Technicians Can Recycle Oil Filters
Recycling oil filters grants the opportunity to reclaim both a good source of valuable steel and a fair amount of motor oil—even a drained filter usually includes some amount of oil. The steel can be repurposed for any number of products, and recycled motor oil can be treated and reused as fresh motor oil all over again.
Oil filters are replaced relatively frequently—about every 5,000 to 10,000 km. If all of these parts were recycled, a huge amount of resources could be recovered and repurposed every year. When working as an automotive maintenance technician, consider making recycling these parts a priority.
Surprisingly, Automotive Maintenance Technicians Can Sometimes Recycle a Car’s Belts
Most auto parts are pretty rigid, which helps promote longevity in the face of driving long distances, or over many years. That doesn’t mean that a car’s belts, which are among the relatively few parts designed to be very flexible, can’t last a long time, though. The high quality of modern rubber can allow a serpentine belt to last around 160,000 km, or even more. Inevitably, this means that some cars reach the end of their operating life with one or more belts still in good shape.
When possible, professionals working in careers in the auto industry can, and should, repurpose these parts when retiring an old car. As with other recycling opportunities, it’s a great way to ensure materials don’t go to waste, but in a much more direct fashion. An old belt can often relatively easily be installed directly into a vehicle in need of a replacement.
Virtually Every Piece of Metal in a Car Can be Recycled in Some Way
Cars are largely made of metal, and most metal is recyclable. Even still, it might be a bit surprising that virtually every single metallic piece or part found in a car can be recycled in some way. Whether that means getting restored and used in a car in need of that part, or getting sent off to be melted down as scrap, it’s rare for a car’s metal to not be recyclable.
That doesn’t mean it’s always a straightforward mission to do this recycling. Car radiators, for example, have metallic components, but not every junk yard, car shop, or automotive collection facility will buy them for deconstruction and recycling. In your future career, you may find your willingness to recycle is occasionally hampered by the availability of local facilities devoted to the process.
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