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The convenience of modern automobiles has altered the way we live our lives and how, when, and where we travel. For three generations, most people have relied on a personal vehicle to get to and from the places they need to go. To meet this demand, American companies (not including imports) have produced approximately 187.5 million passenger vehicles between the years of 1990 and 2015. That is an incredible amount of production, and with it, unfortunately, comes an incredible amount of waste.
As Americans become more and more conscious of their impact on the environment, we have to face the reality that the cars we love and the parts they use are filling up landfills at an alarming rate. But fear not! There are a few, simple ways you can reduce the “footprint” left by your vehicles.
The first thing to remember is that your car causes waste even before you are ready to get rid of it. Oil changes, new tires, seat covers, car seats, et cetera, all leave behind many non-recyclable elements.
Where should used oil go?
Nowadays, most landfills refuse to allow used oil, and it is a simple thing to take your drained oil to a local auto-parts store many accept it and can recycle it. NEVER dump it in the drain, street, or even on that nosy neighbor's lawn.
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Getting rid of used tires
You can always take your spare or worn out tires to recycling centers once you’re finished with them. However, spare tires have lots of “upcycle” purposes. Playground equipment, flower planters, and even sandboxes can be made from last year's tires.
Environmental impact of car seats and seat covers
When it comes to purchasing car seats and seat covers, the best way to reduce your impact is to look at the materials used and choose to spend your money with a company that sources their materials responsibly. For example, try to avoid using certain plastic polymers that cannot be effectively recycled.
Donating your car
And when you are finally ready for that new set of wheels, or maybe your beloved beater finally kicked the bucket, consider donating it to a non-profit such as NPR, Make-a-Wish, or Vehicles for Veterans, where it will responsibly be recycled or fixed up and given to someone in need. You help the environment, aid your community, and get a tax write-off. It’s a win for everyone!
For more tips about responsible consumerism in today's auto industry or for help finding a reputable auto repair shop near you, stay up-to-date with RepairPal.com.
RepairPal is working to fix an industry not known for trust and assurance and arm consumers with individual knowledge when it comes to getting their cars repaired.
We want to make the auto repair process less stressful and much more trustworthy. Our website features our Fair Price Estimator, eliminating that impending “am I being ripped-off?” feeling, while also providing matches to Certified shops, guaranteed to do the work at that fair price with quality parts and a trained, awesome staff.
Have a question about RepairPal? Send us an email at email@example.com.