Interesting Facts And Figures About Auto Recycling

Automobiles are the most recycled consumer product, with over 25 million tons of material recycled from autos each year. That’s just one interesting fact about auto recycling. If you want to sell an old car, contact a scrap metal yard in Clare, MI. Here are some more facts and figures about auto and scrap yard recycling that might surprise you.

Recycled Materials

Car being added to pile of cars in junkyardAround 27 million cars are recovered for recycling each year. The car may be wrecked or have run as long as it will without major repairs. What can be reused or recycled from an automobile?

  • 14 million tons of recycled steel
  • 8 million gallons of gas and diesel fuel
  • 24 million gallons of motor oil
  • 110 million tires
  • 5 million gallons of windshield washer fluid
  • About 98 percent of car batteries


Auto recycling is the 16th largest industry in the United States, totaling $25 billion per year. Approximately 140,000 people are employed by the auto recycling industry at more than 8,000 locations across the country. Auto recyclers are mostly small businesses, employing no more than 10 people. In about 1 in 5 businesses, the owners are the only employees.


By weight, steel and iron make up 60 percent of a passenger car. The doors, hood, trunk, panels, and parts dealing with steering and suspension are made from steel. Steel is the most recycled metal in America, and auto recyclers account for nearly 40 percent of recycled steel. Around 25 percent of a car’s body is made from recycled steel.

Once fluids are drained and reusable parts are removed from an auto, scrap processors shred the auto and sell the ferrous material to steel mills. In North America, auto recyclers supply about 40 percent of ferrous metal for scrap processing. That accounts for about 37 percent of all ferrous metal to blast furnaces and smelters in the United States.


About 90 percent of aluminum of an automobile is recycled. Aluminum recovered from a vehicle represents less than 10 percent of the weight of the vehicle, but it accounts for almost 50 percent of the vehicle’s scrap value.

Oil and Fluids

Stacks of used tiresThe auto recycling industry in North America saves about 85 million barrels of oil each year, reducing air and water pollution. The amount of hazardous fluids and oil reclaimed safely equals 8 Exxon Valdez disasters. Used oil from a single oil change can contaminate one million gallons of freshwater.


An estimated 4 billion tires can be found in landfills and stockpiles around the world. In the United States, Europe, and Japan, recyclers recover 85 percent of tires. Around 90 percent of the 246 million scrap tires discarded each year in the United States are consumed in an end-use market. Rubber manufacturers recycle around 110 million tires each year. Recycled tire material can be used to produce shoes and roadways.


About 80 percent of a vehicle is recycled. The remaining 20 percent is known as auto shredder residue (ASR). ASR includes ferrous and nonferrous pieces and things like dirt, glass, fabric, and plastic. Around 5 million tons of ASR go to landfills each year.

Do you need to sell a car that has been wrecked or is not in driving condition? Call the Fair Salvage Company at (989) 386-7552 to get a reasonable price.