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Over 10 million vehicles are sent to salvage yards and scrap facilities each year. Approximately 75 percent (by weight) of a vehicle is composed of metals that are recycled. The remainder — auto shredder fluff (consisting of plastics, textiles, glass, and other nonmetallic materials) — is disposed of primarily in landfills. Greater emphasis on designing vehicles with recovery in mind is pushing vehicle manufacturers to reduce toxic and hazardous constituents in vehicles and improving the prospect for recovering more of the non-metallic material inputs.

EPA Resources

National Vehicle Mercury Switch Removal Initiative: An initiative to recover and recycle from scrap vehicles the estimated 40 million mercury-containing light switches.

2007 Buy-Recycled Series: Vehicular Products Fact Sheet (PDF) (8 pp, 455K, about PDF): Published by EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guideline Program, this document provides information and recommendations on purchasing recycled content vehicular products, including retread tires.

EPA's Scrap Tire Web Site: A list of markets and uses for waste tires.

EPA’s Smartway Web Site: Information about EPA’s initiative to encourage purchase of SmartWay-certified vehicles which are designed to cut fuel consumption, and improve air quality while reducing greenhouse gases.

Additional Resources

End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation (ELVS) Exit EPA: A non-profit company formed by the automotive industry to promote auto industry initiatives in vehicle recyclablity, education and outreach, and the proper management of substances of concern in vehicles.

Green Cars: A Guide to Cleaner Vehicle Production, Use, and Disposal Exit EPA: A Web resource from Environmental Defense's Pollution Prevention Alliance that offers a comprehensive look at the lifecycle environmental impacts of vehicles.

Automotive Recycling Association Exit EPA: An industry group dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of automotive parts, and the safe disposal of inoperable motor vehicles.

Rubber Manufacturers Association: U.S.Scrap Tire Management Summary 2005-2009, October 2011. Exit EPA

Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) Exit EPA: An innovative trade association of automobile equipment manufacturers and their suppliers, originating from an EPA-lead initiative, which strives to create business-centered approaches to environmental protection.

The Vehicle Recycling Partnership of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR)Exit EPA: An initiative of the American Plastics Council and the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. This project is a multi-million dollar cost-shared Cooperative Research and Development Agreement designed to maximize the cost-effective recycling of end-of-life vehicles. A pilot recycling facility operating at Argonne Exit EPAserves as a focal point for the broader research that will be conducted by the partners.

Partnership for Mercury-Free Vehicles Exit EPA: Calls for the establishment of a national mercury switch recovery and collection program.

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