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Car Recycling

Do you have a vehicle that is damaged, totaled, beyond repair, or otherwise not usable? Selling it for scrap is the easiest and most responsible way to dispose of a car and earn a little money back at the same time.

In the United States, nearly 15 million vehicles are slated for recycling each year. Automobiles are the No. 1 most recycled consumer products in the world, and up to 90% of the material in a typical car can be recovered and recycled. 

How Do I Recycle A Car? 

All kinds of vehicles can be recycled, including cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles. Electric cars, hybrids, and gas-powered cars are all recyclable.  The body, make, model, and year of a vehicle do not impact its recycling potential.

State laws regulate how cars are purchased for scrap recycling. To recycle a vehicle at Cohen:

  • Customers must present valid ID and title (in or notarized in the customer’s name).
  • The VIN plate must be visible and attached.
  • All four tires must be on the vehicle.
  • Please remove all non-automotive material from the car interior and storage prior to recycling. No pressurized containers, including kegs or propane tanks, may be left in the vehicle.
  • Customers must bring their car to a Cohen location that accepts autos. Cohen cannot provide vehicle pick-up or towing services.  The following Ohio locations can take scrap vehicles: Dayton, Hamilton, Sardinia, Sharonville, and West Carrollton. In Kentucky, our recycling centers in Walton and Lexington accept vehicles for recycling.

Visit our Location Finder to find the Cohen Recycling Centers closest to you.

Can I Recycle Auto Parts?

Yes, Cohen takes recyclable auto parts at all of our Recycling Centers, including engines, rims, catalytic converters, transmissions, and batteries (some fees may apply). However, Cohen does not maintain a supply of autos or auto parts for customers to salvage and purchase.

Can I Recycle Other Vehicles (Trailers, Campers, Motorcycles, etc.)?

There are a number of things within the automotive and transportation category, beyond just cars and trucks, that contain recyclable material. Examples include trailers, campers, buses, RVs, aircraft, watercraft, rail cars, motorcycles and dirt bikes. Many of these can be taken to Cohen, but some criteria and exceptions apply. We strongly encourage you to call the Recycling Center you intend to use and describe your vehicle to determine the best way to recycle it.

Why Should I Recycle My Used Car? What Are the Benefits?

The benefits of auto recycling are both economic and environmental.

Recycling steel from your vehicle can save a tremendous amount of energy and natural resources that would be used in the manufacturing process for new steel. Recycling metal uses about 75% less energy than mining and manufacturing new metal, reducing emissions along the way. The glass and plastic found in cars can also be recycled. 

Economically speaking, it just makes sense to recycle cars. Lots of things can happen to a car that render it useless as a car, but there’s still plenty that can be done with its parts and materials. What good does it do to let those resources go to waste, when they could go back into the manufacturing stream? Recycling is not only more energy efficient, it keeps manufacturing costs down and keeps renewable resources flowing in.

How are Cars Recycled?

  • Inspection: First, vehicles of all shapes and sizes undergo vigorous inspection to determine which materials and components are capable of being recycled. 
  • Fluid draining: Professionals carefully drain all necessary fluids such as transmission oil, gas, brake lubricant, and antifreeze. Vehicles produced prior to 2003 contained mercury auto switches, typically used in antilock braking systems. This mercury needs to be removed prior to the shredding process so it doesn’t seep into the environment. 
  • Crushing: The remainder of the vehicle is crushed and then put through an enormous shredder designed for automobiles. It takes just 30 seconds to shred an entire car! The materials are then sorted and prepared to sell back into manufacturing. 

Which Parts of My Car are Recyclable?

  • General scrap metal: All vehicles on the road today contain plenty of recyclable metal, mostly steel and aluminum. 
  • Batteries: In part because it’s illegal to dispose of them improperly, car batteries have a 99% recycling rate. That’s nearly a “pure loop,” a term used by the recycling industry to refer to something that retains nearly 100% of its original makeup when recycled.
  • Wheels & Rims: Vehicle wheels can be resold or melted down to create the material for new products. 
  • Fenders: Fenders are one of the most easily and frequently damaged parts of a vehicle, and there’s a strong secondhand market for these parts. If you can’t find a buyer, don’t worry! They can be recycled.
  • Engines, catalytic converters, and other parts: If you’re looking to get rid of certain parts but not a whole car, those parts can be sold as scrap and recycled.

Are Car Tires Recyclable? 

Yes and no. Rubber is notoriously difficult and costly to process. Unlike metal, glass, and plastic, it can’t simply be melted back into its original form and remade into new products. However, tire rubber can still be used for other purposes, such as fuel, construction materials, and ground cover. If you have kids, you may have encountered recycled rubber mulch at a playground near you!

Cohen does not accept loose tires for recycling. We recommend checking with your county’s environmental services agency for advice on disposing of tires.