Motor vehicles are the premier recycled consumer product in this country, largely due to the work performed by auto recyclers at motor vehicle salvage yards (MVSYs). According to the Automobile Recycling Association, over four million end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are recycled annually in the United States. Auto recyclers dismantle ELVs to recover fluids and parts for reuse, and scrap material for recycling. Typically, auto recyclers manage to reuse and recycle over 75 percent of the material content of a vehicle, by weight. This trumps the recycling rate for aluminum cans the next most recycled consumer product at 61percent.
The auto recycling business is over 75 years old and has evolved into a sophisticated market and technology-driven industry that must constantly change in response to innovations in automotive technology and manufacturing techniques. To be competitive and profitable in today’s markets, the auto recycling process must involve much more than merely crushing wrecked, abandoned, and worn-out motor vehicles. The modern-day auto recycler must establish operating practices that realize the maximum market value of every ELV taken in and produce real economic and environmental benefits within the community being served.
Upon arrival at a well-run modern MVSY, inoperative motor vehicles are inspected for leaks and temporarily stored until further processing, as follows