Two Simple Options For Recycling Your Car

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Driven To Recycle

Recycle your old car
Creative Commons License photo credit: KB35

The North American steel industry annually recycles millions of tons of steel scrap from recycled cars, cans, automobiles, and other steel products.

One of the easiest ways to recycle your car is to go to the Steel Recycling Institute, which has a quick, easy search for recycling locations near you. 3 steps:

  1. Go to the Steel Recycling Locator
  2. Type in your zip code, closest large city and state and select “Cars”
  3. Submit form and find your nearby locations, call ’em to double check, mail or bring in your stuff.

You can also search for “Steel Cans” and “Appliances” on this site. FYI: One of the items that may pop up as accepted is, “heavy fe,” which is iron (the periodic table symbol).

So now you know- don’t drive your car into a lake or into a landfill- it’s made of steel and iron, which are very valuable. These metals are recovered and reused, along with other metals like copper and aluminum.

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, “the very roots of the automobile recycling industry lie in the steel industry’s need for ferrous scrap. Once all the fluids have been drained and all the reusable parts have been removed from an automobile, ferrous scrap processors shred the car and sell the ferrous material to a steel mill.” It’s a nice system.

Upcycled Car Parts

Besides the metal, other car parts can be reused in fun ways, like auto seat belt buckles upcycled into belts or key holders, windshield glass crushed and made into vases or beer glasses, or car seat upholstery upcycled into handbags.

Donate A Car To Charity

There are many causes to which you could donate your old car. Free pick up of your car and tax deductions for your donation are also some nice incentives to donate a car to charity.

You want your donation to do the most good. Here are some things to consider before donating your car:

Check out the charity’s web site. If the organization an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit, they should have a their federal identification number available.

Find out: What actually happens to the vehicle after it is donated?

  • If the car’s title is signed over to the charity’s name.
  • What percentage of the vehicle’s proceeds actually goes towards the charity’s stated mission.

Find out if a third-party broker is involved. Sometimes what happens is that a middleman pockets most of the money from the sale of your used car, and only a small flat fee or tiny percentage ends up going to the charity. Make sure the cause of your choice actually receives more than half of the value of your donation.

Goodwill and Salvation Army accept old car donations. If you choose to donate to another charitable organization, especially if their name isn’t as familiar and it is not local to you, make sure its legitimate by asking the key questions mentioned above.

When you donate a car to Habitat for Humanity, it is recycled to help build homes!

Tips: Most of the time license plates are removed and returned to the DMV before the car is towed. Be sure to first check whether your state requires that the license plate remain on the vehicle. The DMV should also get a copy of your donation receipt and registration so you can officially deregister your car. That way, you ensure that nothing sketchy happens and you are not liable for any actions since you are no longer the legal owner of the vehicle. Keep the original donation receipt and copies of important papers and documents.

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