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Why Crush Cars?

June 1, 2011

Source: How Stuff Works

Why do we need to crush cars? The most obvious reason is so they take up less space. But why are we scrapping, shredding and junking cars to begin with?

+ Recycling cars makes environmental sense.

+ About 65 percent of a junked car is made from steel (the rest is made from other metals plus glass, rubber and upholstery).

+ With 14 million tons of steel from cars being scrapped each year contributing to an industry-wide total of 76 million tons of recycled steel and iron, it’s easy to see that auto recycling is a multibillion dollar industry [Source: ISRI].

+ Recycling metal uses about 74 percent less energy than making new steel, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

+ Recycled steel is cheaper as well, since new ore doesn’t have to be mined to produce it.

+ All steel produced today has at least 25 percent recycled steel in it, and some products are made entirely from recycled steel. So in addition to the economic and environmental benefits, recycling cars is a vital link in the world’s industrial infrastructure.

Did you know?….World’s Largest Auto Shredder
Once cars are crushed, they’re shipped off to a recycling center where they are shredded and separated into small pieces, which are then sorted into various metals. The largest shredder in the world is used by Sturgis Iron & Metal of Elkhart, Indiana. The machine is so big, it isn’t measured in tons, but acres. It uses an 8,000-horsepower electric motor to drive a massive rotor that spins hammers at 175 mph, reducing six pre-crushed cars per minute into fist-sized metal chunks [Source: Buffalo News]. The shredder is so powerful, the hammers must be turned or replaced almost daily because of the wear and tear they receive, and it sits on special dampeners to prevent seismic vibrations in the surrounding area.
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