About the Industry
The United States professional automotive recycling industry is a vibrant and thriving part of the automotive supply chain, representing over $32 billion in sales annually. Automotive recycling businesses employ over 140,000 people at more than 9,000 locations around the country.
The primary goals of the automotive recycling industry are to harvest automobile components for reuse and to recycling the remaining valuable materials that can be used in the manufacture of new basic materials such as steel, aluminum, plastic, copper and brass.
Professional automotive recycling facilities play an important role in the economic marketplace, providing a counter-weight to expensive new replacement parts and ensuring competition in the replacement parts market. Each day automotive recyclers supply over 5,000 quality, recycled original equipment manufacturer (OEM) motor vehicle replacement parts to consumers around the world.
In addition to the critical role they play in the automotive supply chain and replacement parts market, professional automotive recyclers play a valuable role in the efficient, environmentally-friendly disposal of inoperable motor vehicles. Automotive recycling preserves natural resources, reduces the demand for scarce landfill space, and plays an important role in reducing air and water pollution.
From the earliest days of motorized travel to today, professional automotive recycling has evolved into a sophisticated market and technology-driven industry that constantly changes to keep abreast of innovations in automotive technology and manufacturing techniques.
In a typical modern automotive recycling business, inoperative motor vehicles are brought into a facility where the hazardous and recyclable fluids are properly drained. Automotive recyclers abide by stringent local and national regulations dealing with waste generated by inoperable motor vehicles. Many individual automotive recyclers have also instituted their own unique programs to further reduce the potential effects of harmful materials to their businesses and communities.
Undamaged parts and components are dismantled from the vehicle, cleaned, tested, inspected, inventoried, and stored until sold. Automotive recyclers remove parts such as engines, transmissions, doors and bumpers for reuse in other vehicles. To ensure that the recycled OEM parts they provide meet customer expectations, automotive recyclers employ multi-step quality control procedures. Sophisticated technology and inventory management platforms allow recyclers to maximize their inventories and provide quick and efficient service to their customers all over the world.
Batteries, catalytic converters, tires and some plastics are removed and their materials are recycled into new products. The remaining vehicle hulk is then prepared for scrapping and sent to a shredding facility.