Automobiles Filling Up Junk Yards and Landfills

13 Mins read

We see run-out, decaying, junk cars in front yards, in fields, tow yards, auto auctions back yards, junkyards, and dump areas. Set World Update Reviews aside for this purpose. Hawaii, the Big Island, we saw areas where the cars were just piled up. Well on an island it is a big problem because as the population expands so do the cars and if people buy new cars what about all the old ones? Well, they pile up, and then what do you do? It costs money to ship cars off the island, so you trade in your old car and let the dealership deal with it, but he doesn’t want it either.


In front yards of mobile homes, we have seen years of junked cars rusting away in GA, AL, LA, MS, SC. We are talking total junk, not just undrivable, but neighborhood rodents and varmints living in them. As a kid, the local cities would have junk days to go to the canyons and hit the streets to pick up abandoned vehicles and take them to a metal recycler or crusher. CA had a CRV-California Redemption value to get money for the metal in aluminum cans, old cars, or plastic containers. Each year in this country, vehicles are recycled, crushed, sent to the middle east in boxes, and of course, recently, in the last six years, we have had a big push to donate to a church or synagogue non-profit. Good idea; I can remember making money for one non-profit group allowing people to smash a baseball bat for $1.00 per hit, with a guaranteed uncorked bat. But suspension if you hit the safety glass. Later, when OSHA standards came out as Senior Class President of the HS, we started wearing goggles when we allowed the people to smash the car. Then a friend whose dad owned a tow company took it to Pick-Your-Part Junk Yard in the Valley, today totally wired with every make and model and part listed on the Internet and most hard to find stuff on eBay, and all the junkyards are all interconnected on a trunk repeater Motorola Radio System. The junkyard business has really progressed over the years.

America has a love for the automobile, and many of the old cars are fixed up. About a decade ago, you may recall a program where oil companies in some states could buy old cars and get them off the streets and trade for pollution credits, of which El Paso and Enron both enjoyed trading. Enron traded everything from Lumber futures and pollution to energy and just about anything consumable that the Boys in Chicago had not yet created the market for. If it is not bolted to the floor and contracts were drawn for future use, you can bet it was on the potential list to be traded. Bandwidth, oil pipeline capacity, the water, you name it. Commoditizing the world has advantages, and this is one way to control the junk and costs associated. This has always been a free enterprise theme to reduce pollution here in the US.


In the European Union, 7.3 million cars per year are ELV’ed, or ELV Treated. However, 11 million total sent to the graveyard, furnace, junkyard, or recycle crushers, first plastics, and other items is taken apart. In the US, we crush the crap out of them and deal with the entire pancake. Let’s face it; this is a good start. The problem is that each country in the EU has different guidelines; these countries can never make up their mind. For instance, the debt borrowing of the Euro in Germany and France and the rest of the countries having to pay later for the hamburger today.

In the US, we have the United States, although we often act like the United Countries although we are not much better as in almost every industry we have a different set of laws. Even smaller states with little population bases have conflicting laws, such as VT, ID, WY, MT, NM, NH, RI, WV, IA, NE, ND, and SD. States like CA, OR, WA, MA act like socialist countries and obviously pay for it now. Beware the socialists to make all things equal; they can ruin anything, ask Plato. The problem being making non-linear decisions for the countries best is nearly impossible; for us to come to terms with our leadership role in the Americas, we have a lot to be desired on many a front.

We can do better than this, but we fight over the means; why? There can be no excuse. No wonder we cannot come up with solutions to issues like the junked vehicles, which leak all kinds of things when they rot in fields and bleed iron oxides, heavy metals asbestos, and oil, fuel (turns to varnish), brake fluids, radiator fluids and obviously leach into the groundwater pf the local farm and cause all kinds of cancers and problems with kidneys. There are issues. But also we see old farm implements and other equipment junked outback. You can see this on every back highway in America, and every small town serviced or within 100 miles of a Wal-Mart. In other words, everywhere in every small town. Starting in January of 2007, all European Cars sold will be the manufacturer’s responsibility no matter how long the vehicle is in service.


If a new Ford Minivan is in a crash after only 2 months on the road, it will be Ford’s responsibility. If it is on the road for 40 years and then junked, it will be Ford’s problem. It sounds a bit of a pain to me, like our underfunded pensions in this country, of which the Big three are probably a good example of a serious problem with blue-chip companies—a scary thought. You see, as countries become more socialist, the consumer will not be responsible for anything.

Right now, 75% of vehicles in the EU are ELV’ed. They wish to increase this to 85% by 2006, a noble cause—95% by 2015. But we know this is absolutely the wrong way to do this after all the State of CA set and dictated a timeline for electric vehicles, and that did not work, today in the Business News, GM announced it was completely cutting the plug on all-electric vehicles for the newer technology of Fuel Cell. And pursuing the Fuel Cell development project with UPD. Meanwhile, with all the EPA deadlines unmet and all the passed costs to businesses by light, Medium and Heavy duty truck manufacturers, FedEx’s Fred Smith put out a challenge that he wanted 50% more fuel-efficient units with 90% fewer emissions. Apparently, these do-gooders do not understand entrepreneurship. Otherwise, they would be solving the world’s problems by creating, not accusing.

Renault adopted a plan on their own called LEM-Life-Cycle Management and found 13 key vendors to achieve this, a much better and well-organized plan back in 1999. They made all components recyclable, well 90% including the plastics and other materials for their top-selling cars; Laguna II, Mid Size Panel Vans (you have seen them in cops and robber movies in France chasing James Bond), Clio II, and the Val Satis. An excellent achievement for the French Car Company. Similar to the 90% of their recycled story about the Oil for Arms Program with Iraq. Did I say Arms, no no FOOD, we Food, yes food, silly me. Other ideas of the ELV program are easy to disassemble parts, like what Dell is doing with computer trade-ins; yes, Michael is always leading edge; he deserves an award.


You see, when you take apart computers, ancient ones, they have gold plated components on the circuit boards and connections. Dell only charges $15.00 to recycle, and they get at least $8-22 in gold out of each one. Once apart, they can be 67% recycled. The EU wants certain things to no longer be used to manufacture cars, such as mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and lead. Most US Manufacturers have already done this completely, and the rest will soon be completed. Smaller companies such as MG Rover, which use to produce millions of cars, now only sell 200,000 per year in the UK; the UK likes the idea and is up with the compliance anyway, seeing as they agree since they are on an island. But you can always drive the cars to Europe in the Chunnel, and they do not want the reciprocate; the UK says we are not a junkyard.

The UK has its own plan called: ACORD-Automotive Consortium on Recycling and Disposal. They are proposing a cash incentive for turning in a vehicle; the economist and the Futurists have both had articles on this thought. Itis is similar to the Oil Companies paying to get off the road that would not run on Unleaded fuels and needed the lead additive. People were paid to dispose of, in this case, though people are paid to dispose of properly. The UK would let the manufacturers off the hook and let the owner be responsible after all, they own the car, and there is no telling how many owners a car in Europe may have had during its life before it became an end of life vehicle like Logan in Logan’s Run and had to be renewed.

The UK’s Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association agreed that the owner would be given the $75.00 equivalent in pounds as an incentive. It probably also would need to be based on inflation and the CPI-Consumer Price Index. You know the Brits in their need, to be exact, they are all wannabe economists. Failure to properly dispose and renew the vehicle registration would mean that the fine penalty would be issued to their driver’s license; they are more connected there. But the problem is inconsistencies; for instance, Greece had no shredding sites, while Germany has 42, Italy 16, France 42, and in the U, K 37 total. The problem is that those cars from other countries in Europe would not take their cars to the UK; they only want to dispose of their own cars, not everyone else’s. Obviously, they do not want to pay the $75.00 for every citizen in Europe who wants their car melted and shredded.

In Austria, which makes no cars, they want to be paid and have the other countries come to pick up the damn cars; Germany says we can do this since they will levy, guess what another TAX or they call it a LEVY of $100.00, but that levy is dry. Austria is saying that will be the day when I die, meaning Yah, Right? Like you guys in Germany are so far in debt, you will steal the money from Peter to pay Paul, and we will never see a dime of that, and we know it. Germany, of course, loves the upfront money. Ever since Hitler’s economic policy of collecting goods in the trade upfront and holding payments against those goods until they strung out vendors (countries) like Sears and then owned you. No one is fooling the Austrians. They could care less because they do not make cars anyway, figuring it is everyone else’s problem, so get your cars and forget about us building any shredder plants in our beautiful country.

France and Spain are taking the approach that the manufacturer should pay the difference between the scrap that is collected value and the cost to scrap it. Good idea, but what about mergers of car companies or those succumbing to the economic pressure of the low dollar today against the Euro. What about those who will not be here in 2015 when these cars are junked? Who pays for that? Like all these manufacturers will be here tomorrow, and in a merger is the new company responsible? Many questions, the UK is still talking with industry and the cars well they keep piling up, in the United States we have more room. Still, many of these old automobiles have other issues and materials of yesteryear, just like the aging aircraft in the desert is slowly decaying, and aluminum in the water may cause the immune system to attack the brain, such as Alzheimer’s. Still not proven yet.

Another issue is if the Germans collect upfront and a premature incident such as the Floods in Prague where cars were junked early, the junkyards will sell the engines and other components. But also in accidents, theft recovery vehicles already paid on, small car fires, or terrorist’s being killed and bullet holes, these vehicles are not sellable. Still, parts can be taken off; why should the manufacturer have to pay? Shouldn’t they get a refund? But Germany cannot pay everyone not to work and still have money left. These vehicles have gearboxes, engines, body parts, which may always be sellable. In the US, the Argonne National Laboratories have been studying.

ASR-Auto Shredding Residue

About 10 million vehicles are scrapped in us each year. Now, remember the net gain of 7 million is the traffic you see. You see the 10 million vehicles crushed or shredded in the US each year contains about a million tons of polyurethane Foam and approximately 1,500,000,000 pounds of thermoplastics, which is trucked to the landfill or incinerated. We need to look at the options for ELV as the US has to come to grips with the problem as junked cars increase.

By recycling the ASR-Automotive Shredder Residue as per Argonne’s tested model, a reduction of 75% of the waste can stop on the way to the landfill. We have discovered this can be resold in the US to make other products, both in automotive and other fields. A two-stage trommel does this; it is like a rotating screen, the same principle as fishing for gold in Auburn, CA gold country. Or the Rock Crusher sisters in Sunlight goldmine in Butte, MT. The sifter splits up the debris into three parts, similar to the quarters, tokens, and dimes sent into the coin-op car wash for processing into rolls for the bank and recycling tokens back to the machine.

In this process, the University of Chicago built the machine able to take out the dirty foam, oxides of less than 6 mm, like rust chips and the glass chips, dirt. Also taken out of the ELV junk cars would be sand granular, other metals, and plastics. Smaller holes allow these materials to filter, and the foam rises and is left. It is merely dumped over the side and collected in a huge bin, and trucked away. Very efficiently, however, recovering nearly completely debris free dirty foam larger and lighter foam chips. Like the water, which weighs more than the gold.

Foam and we have studied it on this board previously; go ahead and look it up after you are completed with this topic. The Foam is then washed, rinsed, dried, and then, of course, re-used. When missed with chemical, Foam is easily dissolved, and then the chemical precipitated out, and the foam is blown with gas and made into the next substance and preferable shape. Foam is 5% liquid and 95% gas until it hardens cheap to make, but having the 5% for free is also cool. The only issues are the same involved in bulky cardboard recycling. The economies of scale and mass production depend a lot on transportation issues, trains and trucks cost money to run, and the stuff is bulky for its value.

If the substance can be removed from a site, it is much more feasible, and the foam turned to liquid is reduced from 100 volume to 5% volume and now in liquid form and can easily be transported by CSX tanker car anywhere you want it and then shipped anywhere in the world in bulk. This is very cool. Plastics can be easily separated by froth flotation and precipitates and therefore can be recycled cheaply; the Industries dealing with Mineral Separation use this method. The ABS-Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene is abstracted by a difference in density to the high-impact polystyrenes, which sinks faster. So you can separate the two types of plastic with 95 plus percentage accuracy.

The recovered ABS can be used for a multitude of things in another automobile. There are a few issues with the thin galvanized steel used to keep cars light, which is used in modern cars; it is zinc coated, and when your melt it, it gives off toxic clouds of dust. The best idea is to strip the zinc before the process, and there is a way to do this by using sodium hydroxide and electrolysis at room temperatures. To remove the zinc from the solution, use a centrifuge.


The Argonne will sell this entire process to Belgium, and the other EU countries are saying that for every 35 ELV cars, just one engine can be sold, nearly 95% of all ELVs have negative value, yet the Argonne solution solves those issues. One issue with the recycling of steel is much is contaminated with copper; this could cause failure in steel frames on cars and especially with grain memory methods of manufacturing where the steel is trained to stay straight, such as in steering rods, axles, truck frames, bridge components, buildings, etc. if bent the steel returns to it’s intended design shape without worries of fatigue from torsion or other forces. The Japanese would buy it after all they claim their stainless is the same, but when 5% nickel is really used, it does not rust like the Japanese steel, no wonder we are upset with their imported steel. Even with 505 stainless for underground tanks, our tanks will corrode much faster if we use the Japanese stuff, leaving us with significant damage to the environment and drinking well water and underground aquifer contamination. However, that was never discussed in the Kyoto treaty either.

You can recover about 50 lbs of zinc from a ton of steel, and yes, zinc has a value such as undercoatings of bridges, use in pigments, or marine or aircraft corrosion prevention. Plastics recovered is about half the cost of producing plastics from corn due to corn prices, with other plastics, eating, and ethanol. Also, in drought years, plastics cost more due to oil companies getting more as less corn is produced for taco shells, Kellogg’s corn flakes, and Tony the tiger. In all seriousness, though, this is correct, along with the artificial manipulation of the commodity markets as margining players, market movers, farmers hedging their bet against the crop production, and speculators let it all hang out. One issue remains window tint, laminated glass, antenna, and heating element materials often embedded in the windshields, windscreens, and rear windows.

There are also the same issues in the EU here, those old five-gallon flush toilets, refrigerators, washers, and dryers, all an issue. I cannot tell you the number of bathrooms traded in drought areas and the non-energy efficient refrigerators changed in nearly every city in America. This has helped America become more energy-efficient, but the mountains of debris are unbelievable. Think about it.

Netherlands and Sweden have had auto disposal plans in effect for quite a while. I hope you learned something from this because as used car prices fall and cars are worthless, there will be more scraped. As we sell more cars and newer, more efficient vehicles, there will be more scraped; as fuel cells come into play and work out the bugs of technology problems, we will see all those cars on the road end up scrapped. We need to have a plan, and we are well on our way in the states; we can work better since we are in the same country and all on the same team, as long as the other states follow the BMP that fits the needs of the American People and do not try to build some unique program to pay off their overspending as their tax base dwindles from cutting off the hand of the businesses that fed them all these years.

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