How Do Junk Cars Impact The Environment?

Categories FAQs, Junk Car Information
How Do Junk Cars Impact The Environment. Junk car in the woods.

The Junk Car industry is one that many people know little about. It’s a niche service designed to take care of people’s unwanted or junk cars. These vehicles are often missing important parts, in need of expensive repairs, or perfectly functional – but their owners are wanting something more updated.

When someone buys a brand new car, the last thing on their mind is “how will I dispose of this thing when the time comes?”. Obviously, you don’t have to worry about junking a brand new car, but realistically one day that car is going to age and break down. When that day comes, many people have no idea what to do.

Instead of doing the proper research into how to properly dispose of their vehicle, it’s common for people to just let it slowly rust away in a garage or on a street curb somewhere. Choosing to ignore the issue and let your junk car sit, unused, for years is not a good solution to the problem. In fact, it has a horrific impact on the environment.

Junk Cars And Their Impact On The Environment

Whether running or stationary, junk cars can have all kinds of negative effects on the environment. The three most detrimental effects are harmful gasses, groundwater pollution, and decomposition.

Harmful Gasses

Many people insist on driving their junk car until it wheezes its last dying breath. We understand that cars are expensive and unless you live in a highly populated city with a wealth of public transportation, they’re pretty much mandatory in today’s world. We recommend that instead of playing the daily lottery of “will my car die today or will it live to see another day?”, you plan ahead financially.

All cars, whether junk or brand new, produce Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which deplete the ozone layer. The biggest issue with continuing to drive old, dysfunctional cars is that a majority of the engines in older models release carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gasses – so basically they’re extra harmful to our ozone. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but the more damage that’s done to our ozone layer, the more severe the side effects of global warming become.

Groundwater Pollution

There are many reasons why people abandon cars; they require significant repairs, they were wrecked in an accident, or they simply don’t function anymore. When a car has crashed or sits in one place long enough, no matter the reason, the fluids leak from their containers and seep into the ground. A few of these harmful fluids include gasoline, engine oil, brake fluid, and coolants.

Contaminated soil and groundwater can cause serious health issues for both wildlife and the local population. According to the Groundwater Foundation, over 50% of the United States population depends on groundwater for drinking. Polluted groundwater due to car fluids and other chemicals, can cause sickness and may even lead to certain types of cancer.

Junk Cars And Their Impact On The Environment.

Decomposition Of Junk Cars

When people think of littering on the most basic level, they usually picture someone unwrapping a piece of candy and then throwing the wrapper on the ground. In the case of something small, like a candy wrapper or plastic water bottle, it can easily be taken care of. The next person who happens upon it can dispose of it properly – problem solved!

With junk cars, it’s a little more complicated… Abandoning a junk car in a forest or pushing it into a pond is littering on a MUCH larger scale. If you happen upon one of these abandoned vehicles, there’s a lot more to consider. You may wonder who it belongs to, how to go about hauling away something that large, or if the rusted bits are sharp and dangerous. After weighing all your options and risks, you may figure it’s easiest to just leave the car and let it decompose on its own.

We understand why people would come to that consensus, but honestly, it’s the worst option since car parts take centuries to break down. To put things into perspective, our candy wrapper will take about 5-10 years to decompose. Obviously not great, but manageable. The most decomposable item on a car is the rubber tires, which can take about 50-80 years to fully decompose. That still seems fairly reasonable right? Now, the least decomposable item on a car is the engine. This part can take up to 500 years to fully decompose… Yeah…That’s a little over 5 whole lifetimes!

Decomposition Of Junk Cars Infographic

What’s The Solution?

So at this point, you’re probably thinking “Great, I get that abandoned junk cars to have the ability to negatively impact the environment, but what can I do about it?” We have some good news! The solution is actually quite simple:

Recycle your junk car!

The moment you realize that your car is getting old and is starting to rack up more and more maintenance fees, it’s time to consider investing in a new one. Create room in your monthly budget to set aside for a “new car fund” and make it happen. Try not to drag out the use of your junk car unless absolutely necessary.

Also, if you have a car that needs to be junked, don’t just let it sit in one place for years. The longer it sits, the more time you allow for the fluids to leak into the ground. The moment it breaks down or you stop using it, find a junk car company near you and sell your junk car for cash. Not only will they take the car off your hands, but the reputable ones will also either make the proper repairs to re-sell it or recycle the car so that it can be broken down and made into something useful.

Not many people realize this, but approximately 86% of a car’s material content is recycled, repurposed or used for energy recovery. This means that every year, more than 18 million tons of steel from automobiles are recycled by the steel industry. All of this steel can be used for the construction of new cars or the construction of devices for countless other industries.

Moral of the story: If you have a junk car or find one, call a junk car company immediately to have it hauled away and recycled.

Here’s a quick video re-cap of this post. Please share to help spread awareness!

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