There are a million different variables at work in making a car what it is: a splendor of engineering and design that has evolved so rapidly since its invention, it’s become one of the largest industries in the world as a whole. And while everyone knows that certain things go into making a car what it is today—gears, wires, tires and various raw materials for example—there’s also a large number of things that we’re not directly exposed to that come into play. Mercury, for example, is a minor additive in many of our car’s lighting features, as well as ride control systems and even airbag sensors. And while this is normally an extremely dangerous chemical by itself, when used within these systems, it’s being put to work for a number of good causes.
When we’re done with our cars, they find their ways into the hands of auto recyclers in Victoria, BC, where they’re used for everything from scrap to spare parts. It’s when we begin to break a car down that volatile chemicals like mercury begin to lose their usefulness and instead, trend back to being dangerous in all senses of the word. Mercury in particular, has posed a problem not only for salvagers, but also for the environment. The element has begun to contaminate soil, waterways and foliage as it seeps out of old, abandoned cars, causing widespread pollution at dangerous levels.
Auto recyclers in Victoria, BC have begun to take action, however! Instead of simply leaving old junkers to leak mercury into the fragile ecosystems that they reside near, responsible auto salvage yards, like BC Auto Wrecking Ltd have taken to joining the “Switch Out” program. Switch Out centers on the proper removal and disposal of mercury containing parts within old vehicles, so that these various components aren’t left up to their own devices.
Switch Out is a participatory program that many auto salvagers have begun to get behind thanks to its widely accredited sponsor base and valiant efforts in the way of environmental preservation. By providing auto recyclers in Victoria, BC with the necessary information and resources to recycle these highly chemical car components, the program has been widely successful at reducing the overall amount of mercury released after vehicles have been crushed or dismantled. To date, nearly 600,000 mercury switches have been properly collected and disposed of.
With action being taken against the unregulated spread of mercury components into ecosystems and the environments surrounding salvage yards across Canada, businesses like BC Auto Wrecking Ltd are providing a new standard of quality to the auto salvage industry. Thanks to the efforts of the Switch Out program and the individual actions of independent junkyards, the effects of mercury pollution are being stopped and even reversed every day. It’s only a matter of time before we see the end of unwarranted mercury pollution and the start of other beneficial programs in likeness to Switch Out.