Image credit: Pixabay

Admitting that your car is junk is a situation that no motorist looks forward to finding themselves in.  No matter how good a driver you are or how diligent you are with your maintenance, it will happen. The best thing you can do is have a frame of mind not revolving around what you lose, but what you have to gain. It may be too far gone to sell your car to another buyer. However, recycling your car for scrap metal, fluids, and parts benefits both the environment and your wallet.

Why Bother Recycling?

Chances are you may be a little reluctant to sell your car off for scrap. Many people’s only association with this are small companies that offer to “take any car” and pay you. Make no mistake, many of these car scrap companies are small, but this is no fly-by-night operation. In fact, this is, in fact, the 16th largest industry in the U.S.  The auto recycling industry employs around 100,000 people and earns around $25 billion a year. This is good news for you, as not only do you have plenty of options, you likely won’t have to go far to find a company that you want to go with.

On top of being accessible and less work than formally selling a car to another driver, recycling cars have several environmental benefits worthy of note. For each car recycled  Washington Department of Ecology reports a conservation of:

  • 2,500 pounds of iron ore.
  • 1,000 pounds of coal.
  • 40 pounds of limestone.
  • 3 barrels of oil energy equivalent.

These savings come in terms of the costs of mining, refining, and transportation. You may not realize this, but creating steel to make cars is an intensive process. Recycling steel saves roughly 74% of the required energy and bypasses the side effects of associated mining operations. In addition, many other parts, including batteries, tires, plastics, wheels, glass, and more also can be recycled. This often causes less environmental impact than creating the materials from scratch.

Using Your Junker To Get Paid

Recycling your junker spares you the hassle of trying to sell a car in poor condition as well as helps out the environment, but even after you make this decision, you have another major choice to make. Donate or sell? Many charities out there take junker cars for scrap metal. Rather than paying you for the car, they donate the proceeds to a worthy cause and you get a tax write-off. If you choose this method, be sure to do your homework and make sure that the final proceeds for your junker:

A: Legitimately go towards a cause, rather than most of it going to the organization and only a percentage going towards said cause.

B: Go towards a cause you support. Charities are great, but you want to make sure you are responsible and that your donation yields the best benefit for everyone.

However, if a tax write-off is less appealing to you or you would prefer to have some cash in your hand, you can sell a junk car for scrap metal for recycling as well. In addition, you also avoid the paperwork and follow-up that accompanies donating to a non-profit. With this said, both donating and selling a junk car share some benefits. For one, you can generally get rid of your car no matter what condition it is. Expensive repairs, failing emissions, this generally won’t matter for most recycling companies. Don’t expect to make a massive profit—most cash-for-clunkers programs pay a few hundred dollars. With this said, that money is guaranteed and most companies will take the car off your hands for free. Considering that the alternative is having a junker sitting in your driveway that you can’t use, this is a nice way to handle a bad situation.