Metals can be recycled indefinitely without losing any of their properties. In most cases scrap metal is shredded and sent to a steel mill where it can be reprocessed and used in the manufacture of goods such as new vehicles or construction materials. Considering 76% by weight of the average car is metal, recycling end of life vehicles is a very environmentally friendly option. Recycling metal uses about 74% less energy than making new steel, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Shredded steel comprises around 70% of the output from shredders, 25% is shredder fluff and the remainder is known as heavy media. Recycled steel has the added benefit of being cheaper, since new ore doesn't have to be mined to produce it. All steel produced today has at least 25% recycled steel in it, and some products are made entirely from recycled steel. So in addition to the economic and environmental benefits recycling cars is a vital link in the world's industrial infrastructure.
Under current legislation car batteries cannot be sent to landfill sites without going through a prolonged clean up procedure. On arrival at the plants the battery casings are stripped and the plastic is granulated and reformed into new casings. The chemicals are separated; lead content is melted and reformed into new battery plates, which are then placed into new batteries.
Glass can be recycled indefinitely as its fabric does not depreciate when reproduced. Broken or wasted glass is collected and taken to a glass recycling plant, where it is monitored for purity and contaminants are removed. The glass is crushed into tiny particles and added to a raw material mix in a furnace. Recycled glass is also used in the construction industry as aggregates and glassphalt. Aggregates are used for landscape garden design such as plant pot dressings and glassphalt is a road-laying material containing up to 30% recycled glass.
Windshields are different; they are made of laminated glass - two pieces glued together using an inside layer (PVB). Traditionally recycling of windshields has been difficult because of the plastic laminated films. Recently a cost effective process has been introduced to remove the PVB layer and for it to be recycled. The recycling process for PVB is a simple procedure of melting and reshaping it.