Love Your Car and the Earth? Think Green With Your Automobile

March 13, 2017

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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

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About the Author

Guest Author is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

1 User Comment

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By , February 07, 2018
Giving to charity is different for everyone. Some like knowing that donating is helping others and some also appreciate the tax deduction. I myself have given to charity because I at one point had an over abundance of collectibles that I inherited. I did end up keeping some but didn’t have the room to store everything. Rather than dealing with buyers trying to get them for a small amount I finally came to the conclusion donating might be the best answer. And yes I did receive a tax deduction for my items but was also glad to know my donation would benefit someone else. The charity I donated to is I chose them because they are an IRS 501(c)3 certified non profit organization. Their website has all the information you need plus their EIN number if you want to make sure they are legit. I had a good experience with donating so I wanted to share. If looking into donating as an option check out