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Clean Air Foundation wins the Gold Award in the Climate Change category for Car Heaven at the 2007 Canadian Environment Awards

Canadian Environment Awards – June 4, 2007

You may think of your ancient auto as a near-classic, but science is less sentimental. While your car may still have some roadworthy kilometres left, its fuel efficiency and emissions technologies don’t compare to the sweet rides built today. Indeed, since you drove your circa 1991 car off the lot, the auto industry has reduced smog-forming vehicle exhausts by almost 90 percent, which means the longer old faithful stays on the road, the more harm it is doing to the environment.

And that’s where the angels at Car Heaven can help. Car Heaven wants to give your old car the best afterlife possible — one that treads lightly on the Earth. “We’re trying to connect the dots from the issue to a solution,” says Fatima Dharsee, manager of the Toronto-based program. “We want to make it easy for people to do the right thing and deliver tangible environmental results in the process.”

One of several environmental initiatives developed by the Clean Air Foundation, Car Heaven was launched in the Greater Toronto Area nearly seven years ago with private and public sector support. By the end of this year, it will be available in all 10 provinces. “Our goal is to link education and incentives to public action,” explains Dharsee. “We try to work our idea into the auto recyclers’ business models, using the best environmental practices.”

A free tow, a tax-deductible donation to the charity of your choice, free transit passes and bicycle-buying rebates are among the incentives to get clunkers off the road for good. Plus you might be eligible to receive a $1,000 credit toward the purchase of a new GM vehicle. “After the first few years of the program, we saw that too many people were replacing their donated cars with other used vehicles,” says Dharsee, “so we added the new-purchase incentive in 2005.” At the auto recycler, your old beater is drained of its fluids, mercury switches are removed, any salvageable components are reclaimed and all remaining parts and materials, from engine to bumper, are stripped and slated for recycling or safe disposal.

With more than 47,000 vehicles marked RIP, Car Heaven is making Earth a little more like paradise for us all. Car Heaven is run in conjunction with the Automotive Recyclers of Canada and is member associations.