Auto repair shops are playing a key role in protecting the environment with 96 percent reporting they recycle the scrap metal from automotive components, according to a study done by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).
Shops are recycling the scrap metal from many auto parts, including alternators, brakes, engines and transmissions. The volume of material recycled annually in the United States includes 74 million metric tons of iron and steel, 4.7 million metric tons of aluminum and 1.8 million metric tons of copper, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).
"Scrap metal recycling has an extremely positive impact on our environment," said Rich White, senior vice president, AAIA. "It conserves natural resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, saves energy and minimizes the amount of waste sent to landfills."
According to ISRI, recycling one ton of steel conserves 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone, and the energy saved using recycled materials versus virgin materials is up to 58 percent for iron and steel, 92 percent for aluminum and 90 percent for copper. If the ferrous scrap that is recycled in the United States were put into rail cars, the train would stretch 11,349 miles, nearly halfway around the world.
In addition to recycling scrap metal, automotive aftermarket companies, including auto repair shops, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and jobbers, routinely recycle tires, batteries, used oil and oil filters, parts cleaning solvents, plastics, cardboard and paper, a/c refrigerant, dunnage and wood pallets.
The study is part of AAIA's initiative to illustrate the automotive aftermarket industry's widespread efforts on behalf of the environment. The information is presented in AAIA's "Driving Toward a Cleaner Environment: The Automotive Aftermarket's Green Story," in the short video, AAIA Green, and in a Green Snapshot. For more information, visit www.aftermarket.org/green.