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Use a reliable auto recycler

Earth suffers when job isn’t done right

Cars have been a disposable commodity for so many decades that we hardly give a thought to what happens to them — unless they’re in your neighbor’s yard. To be sure that junk cars, known in the trade as End of Life Vehicles, are handled the way most of us want them to be, make sure you are dealing with a licensed auto recycler.

There are many licensed auto recyclers in New Hampshire who are protecting our environment and us as they dispose of nearly 50,000 cars each year. To do this, they carefully drain the motor oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, gasoline and Freon from each vehicle to be stored in separate tanks and recycled.

The batteries are removed and stored on wooden skids that are resting on concrete pads until they are sold and moved out. Catalytic converters are removed for sale to specialized recyclers, as are the radiators and heater cores.

Tires are removed and usually stored in a covered space about the size of a truck trailer until that is filled; then they are sold. No accumulation of tires to be potential insect breeding grounds or fire hazards.

Windows are removed and sold if they’re in one piece or recycled if they are in pieces. What about the little light that comes on when you open the hood or trunk? That gets special attention because it contains mercury, a hazardous material.

The interiors are removed and, if possible, resold to customers near and far. Finally, after everything that can be salvaged has been claimed from the vehicle, the car is crushed and shipped to a shredding operation.

As you can see, dealing with a junked vehicle is a complex task that must be done by people who know what they are doing every step of the way.

There are many unlicensed operators who will take your junk car off your hands for nothing or, in some instances, even pay you for it. The big question for these people before you let go of your vehicle is: What do you do with all of the fluids from my car?

If you get just one weasel word, stop the deal because you know that the fluids are just going to be dumped someplace, the batteries and tires are likely to be tossed on the edge of his/her yard and nothing will be done about the mercury switches. You, too, have to be part of the responsible team disposing of a junk vehicle.

Go to to find a licensed auto recycler in your community. You call, they’ll haul.

By Larry Twitchell, executive director of the Auto and Truck Recyclers Association of New Hampshire. He can be reached at 483-0117 or