Automotive Recycling

Autos are the most recycled consumer product, with 95% of retired passenger vehicles processed for recycling every year. From floor mats and fluids, to aluminum and steel, approximately 86% of a car’s material content is recycled, reused, or used for energy recovery. Innovative technologies and vehicle advancements, like Li-ion batteries, require a coordinated, proactive approach from industry and other stakeholders to ensure end-of-life uses are properly managed.

What’s Recycled

Automakers rely on auto recyclers to remove parts that can be reused or remanufactured for use in other vehicles. These include engines, transmissions, doors, bumpers, starters, alternators, and water pumps. Other parts, like batteries, catalytic converters, tires and some plastics, are removed and recycled into new products. Fluids such as engine oil, coolant, and gasoline are carefully managed to prevent releases and then reused or recycled, as appropriate.

In addition, old consumer products can be recycled into components for new vehicles:

  • milk jugs are recycled into auto trim
  • carpet and used clothing are made into soundproofing material
  • spent battery casings become splash shields
  • recycled plastic bottles are made into heating and air conditioning vent covers and engine oil level gauges
  • nylon carpet is used in air cleaners and evaporative emissions systems
  • recycled tire rubber is used in brake pedals or floor mats
  • additional post-consumer plastics are used in components like underbody shields, battery trays, fan shrouds, air conditioner housings and carpets