When you think of recycling, old newspapers and aluminum cans may come to mind first. But recycling your aging vehicle can be a high-impact way to protect the environment.
Taking an old, high-polluting vehicle off the road permanently by recycling its parts and shredding the steel is an effective way consumers can help clear the air.
The Trees for Trades initiative from Colorado’s Clear the Air Foundation is working to remove hundreds of high-polluting vehicles from the road while lending a hand to state reforestation efforts. The program makes it easy for consumers to donate their old vehicles knowing that they will be removed from the road for good, not just resold and put back on the streets.
Information about the initiative is available at ClearTheAirFoundation.org.
The Clear the Air Foundation was formally launched last year by Colorado’s new automobile dealers, who have already contributed well over 300 old vehicles that have been recycled by the foundation. But the program is soliciting donations from the public, as well.
For each of the first 250 old, dirty vehicles donated by the public, the Clear the Air Foundation will fund a tree to be planted by ReForest Colorado. ReForest Colorado was created by the Colorado Tree Coalition to plant trees in communities affected by natural disasters, as well as other areas in need of tree cover. Trees improve air quality by absorbing pollutants.
“The Colorado Tree Coalition is excited to partner with the Clear the Air Foundation and its Trees for Trades program. The program will help plant trees in communities affected by natural disasters through the ReForest Colorado program, and will assist in furthering the group’s mission to preserve, renew and enhance community forests in Colorado,” said Keith Wood, executive administrator of the Colorado Tree Coalition.
New vehicles produce a small fraction of the pollution emitted by old cars, which contribute to excessive ground-level ozone and dirty Colorado’s air.
The automobile industry has made huge strides in hybrid, flexible fuel, electric, clean diesel and fuel efficient technologies but the air-quality benefits of new vehicles can’t be fully realized until the old, dirty automobiles are retired.
The average age of the U.S. fleet has hit a record high of 11 years. Many cars, of course, are much, much older.
The Clear the Air Foundation appreciates the value of the carefully maintained classic. It’s efforts are focused instead on targeting the sagging jalopy that spews out so much acrid and smoky exhaust at a red light that you need to re-circulate the air inside your car if you have the misfortune of following it.
The brainchild of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, the Clear the Air Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. As a result, taxpayers who donate vehicles to the Clear the Air Foundation get the same tax benefits that they would get from any other car donation program.
However, while many car donation programs just resell the vehicles, vehicles given to the Clear the Air Foundation are sent to Colorado’s auto recyclers, who crush the vehicles and recycle their parts, ensuring they won’t pollute again.