The Cradle to Cradle of Cars

By: Jenna Song

How are cars made?

Cars are made out of an agglomeration of materials, such as steel, aluminum, copper, glass, rubber, and other special fibers. Most of these materials are extracted from deep underneath the Earth, but some of these materials can also be produced by extracting raw materials from trees or other plants. Some of these materials can be extracted by picking them off of trees, but most of these materials require special machinery to extract out of the Earth. These special machineries are often expensive and may require human labor to work the machines and also to gather surface raw materials.
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How are cars used?

Cars are used to transport people from one place to another. In other words, cars are used as a means of transportation.
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How long are cars used?

Cars can last up to 15 years, but most people will replace their cars after 7-10 years.
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What happens to cars when they become obsolete?

Many cars scrapped of their car parts and when these car parts are scrapped, they are sent to steel mills where they are used again for new manufactures of cars. However, with the declining prices of steel, there has been greater incidences of cars being abandoned on streets or random junkyards. Now it is expected for car parts and for cars to be dumped into local landfills or random junkyards when they become obsolete. It takes about 10-12 years for these parts start to wear down as a whole, but individual car parts can last as little as 3 years. Yes, these car parts are toxic to the environment, because these car parts usually leak braking fluids, coolants, batteries, and other oils that can be detrimental to the organisms living in the area and the plant life in the ecosystem.

The R's of Cars

There are multiple ways to reuse and dispose cars in a sustainable manner!


1) Buy used cars.

2) Sell your car to junk lots. These junk lots will take sufficient car parts and these car parts will be reassembled into new cars.

3) Freecycle your cars. There is a network for you to give away your car to other people who wants to use it.

4) Donate to charities. Charities will sell sufficient car parts, which are then assembled into new cars.

5) Car parts can be scrapped. This means that the individual car parts will be melted down and sent down into steel mills where they manufacture cars again.

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The Impact of the R's

By reducing, reusing, and recycling, you can significantly reduce the amount of lubricating oil, lead acid batteries, coolants, and braking fluids, which are harmful to the environment. Reusing cars can reduce the amount of harmful toxins that go into local landfills. There is a finite life expectancy for landfills, so the landfills will be less affected when the amount of car waste is reduced. Thus, the landfills will become healthier, which will result in healthier ecosystems around the landfills. The maintenance of a healthier ecosystem will allow the organisms living in the area to be saved. In this way, the biodiversity in the ecosystem will be maintained.
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Works Cited

"How to Dispose of an End-of-life Vehicle." How to Dispose of an End-of-life Vehicle. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.


Beal, Frank. "The Disposal of Junked Cars." American Planning Association. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.


"The Essential Auto Parts Guide." Ranker. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.