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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Auto-recyclers want to ‘level the playing field’

Did you know cars are the number one recycled product on the planet?

That’s why Chris Miller, a spokesperson for Miller’s Auto Recycling is saying companies involved in the processing of scrap metal and auto recycling need to take more consideration into the environment.

Miller said the local auto-recycler has been green-minded since it was established 50 years ago...and is worried the lack of environmental enforcement with scrap processors will continue to be a leading cause for pollution and ground contamination.

Removal of mercury switches, and the draining of fluids like gasoline and anti-freeze before scrapping a vehicle are things being done by Miller’s and the other 130 facilities associated with the Ontario Automobile Recycler’s Association (OARA), in accordance with federal laws.

But Miller feels more companies connected to the scrap steel-processing industry need to follow suit...and the laws should apply to them as well.

“We want to level the playing field...if you’re going to recycle these vehicles, do everything we have to do also,” said Miller.

And since they are not required by-law to drain vehicles of fluids or remove batteries, he attributes a lot of the contamination of our water to this.

He isn’t opposed to people taking their “end of life” vehicle directly to a processor instead of a licensed recycler to be sold, but wants everybody to be obligated to play by the same rule book.

“I would like to see the government put in some more strict rules for anyone who buys an end of life vehicle...that they have these things in place.”

Miller re-iterated the fact that environmentally-friendly auto-recycling certainly isn’t a new concept for the employees at the local business on Bowen Road. They’ve been doing it for 50 years, therefore he often asks himself why it’s taking so long for others in their sister-industry to get on the green bandwagon.

“I know for a fact a lot of these places out there aren’t doing it,” said Miller.

He did mention a program recently introduced by the Canadian government called Retire Your Ride, where people can have their vehicles picked up and recycled responsibly, with $300 rewarded to the vehicle’s owner.

Miller said the program has been receiving a great response.

“It’s been going off like gangbusters,” said Miller.

For more information, visit

Posted By Kris Dubé, Fort Erie Times

Monday, July 13, 2009

Professional Automotive Recyclers Stand Ready to Process 'CARS' Trade-in Vehicles

With automobile dealerships around the country heavily marketing to the consumer the benefits of the "clunker" trade-in under the federal government "Car Allowance Rebate System" (CARS) program in hopes to boost sales, there may be some question as to what happens to those tens of thousands of vehicles that are expected to be received for new, more environmentally efficient ones. Consumers and dealerships can rest assured that professional automotive recyclers throughout the United States are poised and ready to process those vehicles, and handle them according to the rules set forth under the CARS program to achieve the highest of environmental standards. With protecting the environment being a major component in this legislation, recycling these vehicles is the next logical step.

The automotive recycling industry is dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of "green" automotive parts, and the proper recycling of inoperable motor vehicles. With strong participation in best-in-class programs such as the Certified Automotive Recycler program and other partnerships, members of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) provide consumers with quality, low-cost alternatives for vehicle replacement parts, while preserving our environment for a "greener" tomorrow.

"ARA-member automotive recyclers stand ready to maximize the recycled parts, reuse in an environmentally sound way and get the vehicle through to the scrap process efficiently and effectively," says Michael Wilson, ARA executive vice president. "ARA members have access to the most current environmental regulations, as required by the Environmental Protection Agency and other local and state agencies, and we encourage members to uphold, and even surpass, those standards while processing retired cars. Furthermore, our members will provide the best possible service to all parties - peace of mind for the consumer trading in a car, speed of service to the dealership requiring help with vehicle disposal, and excellence in customer service to potential buyers of recycled parts - all the way to processing the vehicle for scrap."

Not all Americans can afford a new vehicle even with CARS benefits. With trade-ins processed through professional automotive recyclers, the availability of recycled parts to keep other vehicles operable is secured. American consumers and automobile repair businesses purchase these quality recycled vehicle components every day to keep vehicles running. They rely on parts from recycled vehicles because of their substantial savings in reduced repair costs and lower insurance premiums, savings from the purchase of a replacement vehicle, and also for the strong environmental benefits, including the conservation of natural resources that would otherwise be used to make new replacement parts.

The industry, predominantly comprised of small business facilities, responds to the economic and environmental challenge of recycling these vehicles. Rather than merely crushing wrecked, abandoned, or disabled automobiles, today's auto recycler maximizes a car's true market value, and gives new life through the reuse of parts to other vehicles that might otherwise be inoperable.

Established in 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association ("ARA") represents over 4,500 auto recycling facilities in the United States and fourteen other countries around the world. To locate professional automotive recyclers to help dealerships dispose of trade-ins or from whom consumers can purchase recycled parts, ARA provides an online membership directory at

Using recycled parts to repair your vehicle

You've just had an accident and you file a claim with your insurance. The Adjuster comes out to inspect your vehicle and writes an estimate. If the Adjuster has done their job correctly, they will have gone over the estimate with you and explained what they have written. One of the items on the estimate, is to replace a body panel with a quality replacement part or recycled part. You respond to the Adjuster by saying, “I do not want used parts on my vehicle.” It helps to understand the logic and benefit from using recycled parts to repair your vehicle.

For example, lets say that you drive a 2006 Chrysler 300, 4 door. Your vehicle has 45,000 miles and your vehicle is in clean mint condition. You have an accident and dent the right front door. The damage is severe enough to cause the beam inside the door to be bent, jeopardizing the safety of the door, which needs to be replaced. When the insurance Adjuster comes out to inspect your vehicle and writes an estimate, they are going to search for a recycled right front door. What this means is that a search will be done on a door off the same year and make vehicle. If a recycled door is found, it is from another, same make and year, vehicle that has been in an accident, possibly, and had damage to the left side of the vehicle, making all parts on the right side reusable or recycled. The color of the recycled door may be a different color, but the Adjuster will add blend time to match the paint.

Recycled parts are used because the insurance company, not only saves money, but wants to put your vehicle back to pre-accident condition. Buying a new right door from the manufacturer is not returning the vehicle back to its pre-accident condition. Remember, the vehicle from our example above is 3 years old. That damaged right door is not new anymore, the paint has a slight fade and it may have a few door dings or scuffs. Buying a new door would be putting you ahead or you would be benefiting from the collision. The insurance company will only pay for what they owe.

The benefit to replacing the right door, in our example above, with a recycled door, is that it is a manufacturer part. It is not a aftermarket part. The recycled part will fit perfectly on your vehicle because it was made from the same manufacturer.

When an insurance company uses a recycled part on your vehicle for repairs, they usually guarantee the part for the life of the vehicle. If the recycled part is not available, the insurance company will most often write your estimate to replace the part with a new part, but that's after they do a major search, within a 200 to 300 mile radius, for the recycled part. One problem some people have is that they associate the word recycled with the word used, which takes away the perception of quality. Recycled should be perceived as good quality because it came from the manufacturer . The recycled part is just as good as the original part on your vehicle before the accident. Some people may think that using recycled parts will affect their vehicle manufacturer warranty. This is not true because using recycled parts does not have an effect on the integrity of the vehicle.

Remember, it's the Adjuster's responsibility to explain the estimate to you and disclose the use of recycled parts. Most estimates will have a line note, in correlation with the recycled part being replaced, explaining where the recycled part was purchased. This is to help the body shop locate the part to avoid delay.

It seems logical that using recycled parts is fair and beneficial. Your getting the same exact part,the fit is perfect and it's warranted by the insurance company. And, your also helping the environment.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Parts of the solution: Auto recyclers give green pitch

Reselling parts helps environment by saving energy, group says.

Auto recyclers have the parts to help both the environment and the economy, says Derek Covey, owner of Covey’s Auto Recyclers Ltd. in Blandford.

"The most recycled product is the automobile," said the president of the Automotive Recyclers Association of Atlantic Canada in a Thursday interview.

The regional association, which has 13 Nova Scotia members, met with its national counterpart, the 420-member Automotive Recyclers of Canada, in Halifax today and yesterday.

The two-day gathering showcased the federally funded Retire Your Ride program and the auto recycling industry’s role in the initiative, which offers $300 cash incentives to owners who take their higher emission, pre-1996 vehicles off the road.

"Our membership is a strong supporter," said Mr. Covey, who noted that auto recyclers help protect and preserve the environment in a number of ways.

Recycling and reselling auto parts saves enormous amounts of energy required to manufacture new parts, he said. Recyclers also remove and reclaim metals, plastics, oils, fluids, batteries and other hazardous materials, including mercury switches found in automobile convenience lights, from junked vehicles.

"One mercury switch can contaminate a large lake," Mr. Covey noted.

Auto recyclers contribute to the economy through the employment the industry creates, the money it spends on operations, the taxes it pays and the savings it provides to consumers and insurance companies.

"The majority of our members are small- and medium-sized businesses," said Mr. Covey, who employs 12 people. "Some employ 25 to 30."

Steve Fletcher, executive director of the regional and national automotive recyclers associations, said the Canadian auto recycling industry is worth about $800 million annually.

"It’s evolving from mom and pop operations to more professional networks," that process old vehicles properly and provide usable parts to consumers at considerable saving compared to new parts, he said.

Mr. Fletcher said the auto recycling industry has seen a 10- to 15-per cent increase on the auto part sales side of the business during the economic downturn.

"People are holding on to their cars," he said, adding that while scrap metal prices are down, they remain within historically accepted price ranges.

Lisa Tait, program director for Retire Your Ride, which is managed by the Clean Air Foundation, said auto recyclers have been essential to the success of the environmental initiative, which has recycled 7,500 vehicles since its inception in February.

"We couldn’t do it without them," she said, noting that recyclers pick up the vehicles and ensure that all hazardous materials are removed before they are crushed.

• Utilizing recycled parts saves an estimated 80 billion barrels oil annually.
• The amount of toxic oils and fluids safely reclaimed by auto recyclers is the equivalent of eight Exxon Valdez spills annually.

• More than 75 per cent of an entire vehicle, by weight, is re-used, re-manufactured or recycled.

• Using recycled parts in collision repair substantially reduces insurance costs.

• Vehicles manufactured before 1996 emit 19 times more air polluting emissions than 2004 or newer vehicles.

• Many vehicles manufactured before 2003 have switches that each contain nearly one gram of mercury. A single gram of mercury can pollute an eight-hectare lake to the point where fish are inedible for a year.

By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter


The first big breath of fresh air that our environment has seen in a long time is the collapse of the auto industry. What a blessing in disguise. So swings the pendulum of evolution. Perhaps it has struck a loud, long-lasting, clear-sounding gong to which we all should be listening.

The unsung heroes on the tail of this industry have long been overlooked, criticized and looked down on as unsightly junkyards blemishing our countryside. And I’m talking, folks, about those unappreciated, well-educated in their field, far-seeing folks who are known as those in the auto recycling business. Where end-of-life vehicles are retired with environmentally friendly dignity. Where quality used parts and scrap metal are sorted, cleaned and put back into the circle of use and reuse. Where environmentally unfriendly substances are carefully collected and disposed of in a proper, sustainable manner.

By fate, fame, fortune or divine guidance, I recently had the opportunity of casually touring one of these local facilities, Fergus Auto Recyclers, 6252 County Road #29, just east of Fergus, and believe me, did I have my eyes opened wide. I was not growled at by the imaged glare of a lip-curled, snarling, white-fangs flashing junkyard dog. I did not see huge, randomly thrown piles of unsorted, paint-peeling, rusting debris. I did not see gasoline, anti-freeze and oil spills. I did not smell the stench of the dead and the dying. Nor was there the smell of mildew, rot or mould. What I saw was a well-fenced clean and tidy yard, circled by a healthy, multi-species, wetland tree population.

What I saw was containers for carefully collected anti-freeze from the radiators, oil from the crankcases, Freon from the air conditioners and fluid from the brakes. I saw that gasoline, sucked by compressed air vacuums, cleaned by filtering, and filtered once again to be used in their own vehicles.

And most important of all, I saw a small jug-sized container where collected within were the tiny units of mercury. Those are from the mercury light switches that conveniently turn on the little light when you lift both the hood and trunk lid. One of these units, small as it is, the size of a baby’s fingertip, if improperly disposed of, is quite capable of killing, by pollution, all the fish, turtles, frogs and aquatic life in a lake of 20-acre capacity.

What I also saw were neatly rowed piggybacked, stripped-down auto bodies, waiting to be crushed there on the site to fit into transportable containers, ready to be recycled in the molten cupolas of the giant steel mills.

Our sleepy-eyed, short-sighted political parties – federal, provincial and municipal – in the language of gardeners, have long been leaning, as they too often are, on the wrong end of the shovel. The industry that should have subsidies directed to, or in the lingo that excites the media, bailed out, in these times of receding economy, is not the excessive dollar-hungry mongers, legal thieves of the auto industries, where repair was unheard of and replace was the norm. Where need was forgotten and overpriced luxury, exhorting excessive speed, was foisted on the brainwashed public by easy credit, encouraging without fail, the fatal, stranglehold of deficit purchasing. Where assistance should be directed, if politicians should so wake to reality, with the possible forethought of passing a sustainable world on to our grandchildren and their children’s children, is to the so-called scrap yards that have been struggling for years to keep a foothold in a down- trodden industry that favours our environment greatly. Through no fault of their own, they have received little or no favourable recognition and certainly little in well-earned, government-regulated assistance.

Today’s recyclers provide low-cost, high-quality used parts in a way that benefits the consumer, the industry, and our earth. In so doing, they help reduce insurance rates, vehicle repair bills and staggering amounts of pollution. Should they not be given a much fairer shake?

Take care, ‘cause we care.

by Barrie Hopkins,