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How car recyclers in one US state help reduce carbon footprint

United States – By reclaiming auto parts for reuse and then recycling the steel and aluminium left in vehicles at the end of their useful lives, members of the Automotive Recyclers of Massachusetts (ARM) are reducing the state’s carbon footprint by at least 2.2 million tons of CO2 each year, concludes a study conducted by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

‘Our members are focused on recycling every day, but this is the first time we have verified the collective positive impact our industry has on the Massachusetts environment,’ comments Scott Robertson Jr, a director of ARM and a member of the executive committee of the Automotive Recyclers Association, which represents the industry globally.

The study was sponsored by ARM and conducted independently by WPI seniors as their major qualifying project to complete their degrees in mechanical engineering. ‘What the automotive recyclers are doing is saving materials, saving energy and impacting the environment in a positive way, thus adding value to the economy of the state,’ says Professor Brajendra Mishra, director of WPI’s Metal Processing Institute and advisor to the study.

The study revealed that an estimated 165 000 vehicles are recycled by ARM members in a typical year. The team then calculated the energy saved by reusing auto parts from those vehicles – such as engines and transmissions – as against manufacturing new parts. They also calculated the energy saved by recycling the steel and aluminium left in the vehicles as compared to mining ores and refining new metals.

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