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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Car Collectors, Restorers Indebted to Hollander Interchange Creator

If it hadn't been for the Great Depression and talking pictures, today's car collectors, restorers and repairers might be displaying their classic cars on wooden blocks instead of scenic roadways.

The double force of the economic Depression and the decline in live entertainment triggered by "talkies" forced Twin Cities singers Roy and Hildur Hollander off the stage and into the garage. There they created what's become the largest interchangeable auto parts system in the world, known in the industry as the "Hollander Interchange."

The Birth of an Idea
Roy Hollander came upon the interchangeable parts idea while working as a car salesman at the start of the Depression. He’d offered a customer $75 in trade credit for 1919 Diamond Truck that had little more than an engine, gears and wheels. After several unsuccessful attempts to sell the relic, Hollander approached an auto wrecker with the hope of recouping a portion of his investment. The man handed him $100 for the remains, explaining that the salvageable components would be sold for reuse on other vehicles at a handsome profit.

A few years later, with their music careers still on hold and jobs scarce, Hollander and his wife began a year-long study on which parts from which vehicles were interchangeable. Their plan was to sell their findings to "auto wreckers, mechanics, garages and anyone else who was interested" in the reuse of auto parts. Their concept of "recycling" used auto parts was decades ahead of their time.

Information proved difficult to access. Automobile manufacturers were reluctant to admit that some of their parts would work equally well in other models. Hollander persisted, and in 1934 published the first edition of the Hollander Interchange Manual.

Hollander Interchange Manuals have been a staple of auto recycling operations for more than 70 years. In recent years, they’ve also become a trusted reference among individual car enthusiasts, particularly classic car collectors, restorers and parts suppliers. They are considered the world’s most complete and accurate index on auto parts for classic or restored automobiles.

Hollander Interchange Simplifies Parts Search
The Hollander Interchange enables automotive recyclers, enthusiasts and parts suppliers to find the parts they need to keep their vehicles running and in original condition. The manuals index millions of auto parts and their interchangeable equivalents from other vehicles. The easy-to-use system allows anyone interested in restoring or repairing an automobile to broaden and simplify the search for hard-to-find replacements parts, and save money in the process.

Monday, May 25, 2009

National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program Launched - A Unique Collaboration

Canada’s steel and auto industries aresupporting and funding a national program designed to remove mercury containing switches that were used in vehicles for convenience lights (under the hood or in the trunk) and anti-lock braking systems from endof-life scrapped vehicles before they are flattened, shredded and recycled into new steel. This national program builds on the successful Switch Out initiative delivered by the Clean Air Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization. With this new funding, Clean Air Foundation will expand Switch Out to all provinces and territories in Canada, providing the infrastructure for the collection, removal and management of the mercurycontaining switches as well as practical educational materials to recyclers across the country.

This program partnership is supported by Canadian automotive recyclers and dismantlers and their respective associations – the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) and the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI). The collaborative effort among the steel, auto and recycling/dismantling industries is unprecedented and is essential to the success of the program, which will assist the steel and auto industries to meet the new federal pollution prevention requirements regarding mercury-containing switches.

Mark Nantais, President of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association stated that “This program will ensure that the mercurycontaining switches in end-of-life vehicles are properly removed and managed so mercury is captured and prevented from entering the environment. As of January 1, 2003 the use of mercury switches in new automobiles has been voluntarily and completely phased out.” Ron Watkins, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, added that “Removing mercury-containing switches from end-of-life vehicles represents the most effective way to reduce mercury releases to the environment. Canada’s steel producers are committed to the continued success of the Switch Out program, and are pleased to be working with the auto industry and the Clean Air Foundation to expand it into a truly national program.”

Steve Fletcher, Managing Director of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC), said “ARC supports the establishment of a national vehicle mercury switch recovery program. We are committed to working in good faith as we have done in the past and even more now to ensure that the mercury switches from all scrap vehicles are removed.” Leonard Shaw, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI), commented that “As stewards of our environment, CARI looks forward to applying our industry expertise to help develop the national Switch Out program.”

Since 2001, Switch Out has engaged 448 auto recyclers to collect more than 160,000 mercury-containing convenience lighting switches across Canada. Ersilia Serafini, Executive Director of Clean Air Foundation, stated that “we are committed to delivering this national program and will build on our past success to ensure that the program achieves results. We look forward to working with the Canadian steel and auto industries, as well as engaging many more recyclers and dismantlers in this national program.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Recyclable Cars: Which parts of your car end up as landfill?

Each year, around 10 million vehicles are disposed of in the United States. Before vexing your conscience though, you should know that over 95 percent of these “retired” cars head straight to one of the 7,000 vehicle recycling operations around the country and 75 percent of these cars' parts are completely recycled, letting cars claim top spot as the world's most recycled product.

DriverSide explores what happens to these automotive materials:

As the hottest commodity at the moment, steel, iron and other metals comprise about 65 percent of the average vehicle, making the reuse of this product vital to overall automotive recycling efforts. Although reuse of metals started alongside the advent of the automobile, they're more popular than ever before. With construction exploding in rapidly developing countries like China, traders are snatching metals up to sell, and some older cars are now actually worth more for their steel than for their originally intended ‘automotive’ function. Naturally this means, according to the Steel Recycling Institute, that virtually all of this material is recovered for reuse. Wheels, engines, transmissions, wiring and body shells get shredded and filtered by ferrous scrap processors and the material is then sold to steel mills. Your trashed ’79 El Camino could be having a second life as a part of an Indian skyscraper.

70 percent of all lead now used in the U.S. is found in car batteries. Fortunately, we’ve known about the toxicity of lead for a while now and recycling systems have been in place for years. Some batteries have enough life to be reconditioned for resale, but the dead ones go to lead reclaiming plants where the toxic substance is extracted to use in new batteries.

“Nearly 90 percent of all lead-acid batteries are recycled,” confirms Latisha Petteway, Spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Almost any retailer that sells lead-acid batteries collects used batteries for recycling, as required by most state laws.”

In 2005, the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association estimated, based on U.S. census reports, that 299 million tires were discarded. That's a helluva lot of miles covered. Good news: 86 percent of that number was reused. While today’s tires are complex, they are also extremely recyclable. The rubber from old tires makes it into a multitude of materials, from pavements to playground covering. Some are used to create more tires, 16.255 million in 2005 were retreaded – though very few of those were for passenger cars, due to economic factors. They are also able to fuel cement kilns, boilers and paper mills as well.

Oil, that fussy liquid which needs to be changed every few thousand miles, isn't just tossed away at lube shops. 380 million gallons are reused or recycled each year in America. It goes through a refining process and comes out squeaky clean (well, as clean as an oil can be) as a base stock for lubricating oil. The problem is that many do-it-yourselfers change their own oil, and the irresponsible ones send roughly 120 million gallons down the drain instead of taking it to a collection center, local auto parts store or garage.

Used gear oil, windshield wiper solution, brake fluid, power steering fluid, antifreeze and transmission fluid can contain some seriously toxic substances, including lead and the highly poisonous ethylene glycol. But if you drop it off at a collection site, each of these fluids can either be blended and utilized as an alternate fuel source or restored.

What Isn’t Recycled
The recyclability of certain materials has eluded experts for years. Glass is just one such problem. Those windows protecting you from errant rocks and bugs are coated in a laminate, and sometimes have defrosting wiring and tinting, all of which complicate the recycling process.

Roughly 12 million tons of ferrous and non-ferrous metals are recycled each year, but according to Petteway, “about 20 percent of the scrap feed (or auto shredder residue) remains after metals recovery – consisting primarily of glass, plastics, rubber, fabrics and dirt.”

While we've come far in our auto recycling efforts over the years, the amount we are unable to reuse adds up quickly.

“Nearly all of the over 3 million tons of auto shredder residue generated in the U.S. each year is land filled,” continues Petteway, “recovery of specific materials from ASR (auto shredder residue) is difficult due to the physical nature of ASR, contamination, weak markets for major recoverable materials – such as polyurethane foam, rubber, and glass – and the processing needed to meet market specifications.”

Not all is lost though; Scientists at Illinois' Argonne National Laboratory say they're close to completing a facility that recycles the leftovers from junked vehicles. Manufacturers are also stepping up to the plate. The VW-Scion process maximizes the recovery of materials that would have previously been shredded and land filled. Ford and Mazda reuse plastic bumpers in the creation of new vehicles as well and Acura's 2009 TL is 90 percent recyclable.

With renewable resources and environmental protection on the forefront of design and manufacturing now, the time when we should start seeing recycling hit new levels of success is right around the corner.

By Alison Lakin, Associate Editor