Totaled Cars Satisfy Recyclers' Appetite for Destruction

Monday, December 10, 2012

Overturned cars in Far Rockaway, Queens after Sandy. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

As unsalvageable, flood-damaged cars get hauled off the streets, they have to go somewhere. Recyclers are now beginning to report an uptick in business due to Sandy.

Sims Metal Management is the world's largest publicly traded recycler, with a big facility in Jersey City. Spokesman Daniel Strechay said the storm damaged vehicles coming in are first cleaned for oils and coolant. Then they are slaughtered.

“We're going to take the vehicle and we're going to put it in a machine that we call a mega-shredder,” Strechay said. “This mega-shredder has a nine thousand horsepower motor and can shred a car in about ten seconds”

Then steel is separated from aluminum and copper, and sent to smelters.

Sometime next year, a totaled car could come back to you in the form of a new shovel or a dishwasher.

Strechay said the extra business is appreciated, but the global recycling business is still in a recession-induced slump.

Sandy damaged or destroyed close to a million vehicles along the eastern seaboard.


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