Over And Over Again: Five Things You Didn't Know Could Be Recycled From Your Car

When most people think of the term "auto recycling," they imagine a gigantic machine smashing a car into a small block that's then melted down for scrap metal. But there's actually a lot more to the process. There are plenty of components in your automobile that can be recycled on their own. Some of these items are simply recycled to be used for their intended purpose again while some are used in the production of other materials. Here's a look at five surprising things you didn't know could be recycled from your car.   


13 to 14 million automobile windshields are replaced each year in the United States, and the majority of those end up sitting in landfills. Years ago, recycling a windshield was difficult because the glass actually sits between two layers of plastic. But thanks to recent technologies, it's now much easier to retrieve the glass from inside. This glass can be used to create concrete, fiberglass insulation, and glass bottles. The plastic coatings can be used for adhesives like glue.

Motor oil

Motor oil never really "goes bad" or wears out - it just gets dirty. That's why you always hear warnings to not dump it down a drain. In the vast majority of cases, old motor oil can be refined and reprocessed to make it usable again. Most of the time, it gets sent off to be used in industrial purposes. 

Water Pumps

A car's water pump is not only fairly easy to repair if it breaks, but it's easy to restore from extended wear. There's a reason that you'll see many auto parts stores have a "core charge" of a few dollars just like they do with car batteries. This encourages people to bring theirs in for recycling instead of simply tossing them out.

Starters and alternators

Just like water pumps, starters and alternators don't see a great deal of physical wear and tear. As a result, they too can be restored pretty easily. Both of these components can be expensive when new, so this doesn't just save the environment, but purchasing a reconditioned one is a great way to save money.


Anything plastic in your car (including the dash, fuel tank, and bumper) can easily be turned into other plastic products. But plastic recycling is fairly common, so why is it on this list? Thanks to the work of a Japanese inventor, ordinary plastic could soon be used to power your car.

When your car has outlived its normal use as a means of transportation, there's actually a lot of life left inside! Auto recycling is excellent for the environment, so don't assume that a car destined for the scrap yard is a total waste.