Just about any metal found in cars can be recycled, but steel is the one that’s most sought-after. About 65% of a junked car consists of steel, and recycling steel uses 74% less energy than milling new steel, which means recycling is economical. It’s also profitable: the business in recycling steel from cars is worth billions of dollars a year, particularly in Asia, which has the largest demand for it. About 25% of the steel that comes out of a steel mill today consists of recycled material. In addition to steel, the other metallic elements of cars such as chromium and aluminum are relatively easy to recycle and also lucrative. Even the non-metal parts of cars such as plastic and rubber have recycling value. The European Union is especially interested in mandating that recycled materials be used in cars: its recent legislation directs that by 2015, 95% of vehicle components must be recycled.
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