Everyone knows that recycling is good for the environment, but not everybody understands exactly why or just how much of an impact buying recycled car parts can make.
Re-using something means that another one does not have to be manufactured. This statement has a far bigger impact than it first appears. It does not just mean that you don’t have to spend extra money to get a shiny new one, but that the entire manufacturing lifecycle for that item does not exist:
Ore for the metals to make it did not need to be dug out of the ground.
The oil for the plastics to make it did not need to be drilled for and energy used to pipe it a refinery.
The fuel to power the machinery doing the mining was not needed.
The fuel to transport the ore and oil to the factories making the components was not burned.
The energy to convert the oil to plastics wasn’t required.
The energy the factory would have used to process the ore to metal was no longer needed.
The fuel needed to ship the components to the factory for final assembly was not burned.
The fuel to power the factory that assembles the components into your new part was not needed.
The energy to transport that new part to the store where you bought it was not required.
These savings also ripple out to the wear and tear and other consumables on all the machinery involved in the entire process, making savings at every step.
When you add it all up, the savings in terms of reduced environmental damage through less mining and burning of fossil fuels, and the reduction in energy consumption from not obtaining and taking the raw materials from source to final delivery, are huge. Given the increasing use of semi-precious metals in parts (catalytic converters were just the start), there are even savings to be made in terms of human lives where these scarce resources are competed for in conflict zones.
Altogether, the reason why people should buy recycled car parts is that they’d be crazy not to.
Used car parts are great value and can be purchased at big discounts. They save the customer and the planet’s scarce resources.
*Based on the essay competition entry by Craig Wallace.