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California Salvage Yards Go Green

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

California Salvage Yards Go Green

Ronnie Tanner
February 27, 2009

California salvage yards no longer resemble the bone yards they once did. Gone are the days of junk yards and rusting hunks of metal from abandoned cars left to slowly corrode into oblivion; allowing the motor oils and corrosive fluids to spill onto the ground and find their way into once pristine ecosystems. Today, salvage yards are redefining who they are and what they do. To be precise and politically correct salvage yard isn’t even the correct term anymore. These days they are known as auto recycling centers and really the new name says it all and even though the name may have changed some, there really is a misconception about the salvage yards in California. They have been green for some time now. And long before it was chic to recycle, California auto recyclers were already reclaiming the steel from junk vehicles and providing for the safe handling and disposal of the oils and fluids of the vehicles they were handling.

Most salvage yards in California today belong to SCADA (State of California Automotive Dismantlers Association) and are state of the art facilities that are licensed in the handling and disposal of hazardous materials and DOT handling and shipping of airbags among other things. SCADA has been in existence since 1957 and they consider themselves America’s first recyclers. Members of SCADA are the only professionally licensed and qualified industry in California to properly dismantle vehicles for the purpose of reselling the salvaged parts. Around 200 California recyclers belong to SCADA. And when you think of how many people own and operate automobiles in the state of California, it becomes readily apparent that some type of system had to be created to deal with the incredible number of non operational vehicles that would come from having so many cars on the road. The members and associate members of SCADA represent this solution. In Fact, SCADA has done so much to improve the environment for Californians that it actually received an award for environmental awareness. The Governors Environmental and Economic Leadership Award is the California’s highest environmental award and was presented to SCADA for its Partners in Solutions program, and was recognized as a “pioneering effort to integrate environmental values and conservation of natural resources into long-term decision making and management of business and facilities” by no less then California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

By working closely with the EPA, California Auto Recyclers are working to prevent further contamination of the beautiful state of California. And it looks like they may be succeeding. The statistics gathered since 1997 show that just over 95% of inoperable vehicles are now being recycled. This has resulted in reducing the overall amount of iron and aluminum that must be mined each year. In the past 10 years these auto recyclers have recovered enough steel to make 13 million new vehicles. This alone has saved an estimated 85 million barrels of oil a year that would have been used the manufacturing of new or replacement parts.

California recyclers are saving more than just the environment as well. Because recyclers provide wholesale and retail customers quality parts that sell for up to 50% less than new parts, they also are doing they part to help out in times of economic crisis.

Source: Amazines.com

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