Can Auto Recycling Eliminate “Illegal” Junkyards?

Consumer vehicles are the number one recycled product in the U.S. (, with over 25 million tons of material recycled from end-of-life vehicles each year. The recycling is performed by roughly 7,000 professionally operated recyclers throughout the nation. However, despite the great number of auto recyclers and the impressive volume of materials they recycle, some junk vehicles fall through the cracks, and never arrive at an auto recycling facility. In some cases, they end up parked in what are commonly called illegal junkyards.

What Are Illegal Junkyards?

Illegal junkyards are ones that don’t have a business permit and usually aren’t in the business of selling parts from the end-of-life vehicles they harbor. Rather, these junkyards — which are often found in out of the way places such as sparsely populated woodland areas — serve as a convenient place for people to dump aging vehicles that are no longer dependable.

In some cases, an illegal junkyard is simply a small collection of automobiles that’s located on private property and used exclusively by the property owner over the course of many years. However, who dumps vehicles at illegal junkyards and why aren’t the main concerns. The primary concern is how the vehicles negatively impact the environment by exposing the junkyard area to the following sources of vehicle-related pollution.

    • Lead batteries
    • Mercury from light switches
    • Anti-freeze
    • Freon from cooling systems,
    • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
    • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
    • Asbestos found in older cars
  • Motor oil

Vehicles that are parked in illegal junkyards are typically left there without having the products or materials above removed, which makes the cars especially egregious sources of pollution. As for proposing a solution to the problem, there is only one answer: Encourage end-of-life vehicle owners to forward their cars to companies that perform auto recycling or businesses that participate in a particular part of the recycling process, such as professional junkyards.

Incentives for Auto Recycling

Logistically, auto recycling can eliminate illegal junkyards, but the key is motivating those who use illegal junkyards to recycle their vehicles. There are three main incentives for illegal junkyard users to recycle their automobiles by offering them to auto recyclers or junkyards that participate in auto recycling: payment in cash for the vehicles, the vehicles are towed away for free, and having the vehicles towed removes an eyesore from the property.

If you need to get rid of junk vehicle, and you’ve considered leaving it in an illegal junkyard, consider offering it to Wrench-A-Part instead. We pay top dollar for end-of-life automobiles, offer free towing for cars we purchase, and participate in auto recycling by sending vehicle frames to auto recyclers. To receive a free price quote, please refer to our contact page to select our nearest location. We look forward to making you a competitive offer for your junker!        

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