Where do cars go to die?

Element - - Waste Champions -

With global lead­ers bat­tling to agree on tar­gets to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions and only around 25 years left be­fore Earth reaches a crit­i­cal tip­ping point, aban­don­ment of fos­sil fu­els and wide­spread adop­tion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles are in­evitable. And as petrol and diesel ve­hi­cles con­front an­ni­hi­la­tion, an un­ex­pect­edly pos­i­tive story of sus­tain­abil­ity can be told.

A re­cent crushed-car com­pe­ti­tion at Lyn­nMall Shop­ping Cen­tre that in­vited peo­ple to guess the make and model of an oblit­er­ated ve­hi­cle that had been writ­ten off af­ter a light crash at­tracted 11,000 en­tries. The bro­ken-car col­lec­tion com­pany Ze­bra, which crushed the ve­hi­cle, first put it through a seven-step re­cy­cling pro­gramme that is ap­plied to ev­ery car that ar­rives at the Ze­bra car-wreck­ing yard in One­hunga: ^ Gas ex­trac­tion process to re­move and re­use or re­cy­cle all liq­uids, in­clud­ing fuel, oil, brake flu­ids, bat­tery acid and air­con gases Check­ing for parts to as­cer­tain the stil­lus­able pieces of the ve­hi­cle Man­ual re­moval of us­able parts, a process that takes about 1.5 hours per ve­hi­cle Load­ing of parts into con­tain­ers for ex­port Re­cy­cling of bro­ken car parts and scrap Fil­ter­ing and reusing of fuel and re­selling of good tyres lo­cally What re­mains is crushed and sent to the me­tal re­cy­cling plant The re­cy­cling of cars is a com­pli­cated and highly spe­cial­ized process that does a world of good for the en­vi­ron­ment. Old cars are taken off our roads (thus low­er­ing emis­sions and par­tic­u­late pol­lu­tion and en­hanc­ing road safety), while de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are sold good car parts at af­ford­able prices.

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