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Are Car Manufacturers As Responsible As Possible

Sep 10, 2008
Due to concern about the environment, different governments have imposed various rules regarding what can be disposed of and what can't. Big business and aeroplanes are deemed to be the highest air polluters of all but it is difficult to do much about this.
Finances from huge corporations pretty much keep the cogs of world economy turning and the products and services from these corporations will never stop being demanded from the public.

It's much the same with air travel. Jet engines spew out copious amounts of pollution and to counteract this, although don't ask me how, extra tax has been levied against passengers to pay for the carbon footprint. As far as I am aware you cannot buy back the ozone layer so how the extra tax helps I'm not quite sure. People don't stop flying, they simply pay the extra tax and then moan about it.

Therefore, the problem of air pollution has been pushed further down the line to the average consumer who pays extra for fuel, extra for cars, tax, insurance, pretty much everything. However, car manufacturers also have an obligation to assist with this problem and as such the European Union have introduced the European End Of Life Vehicle Directive. This brings into play rules about which harmful substances have to be controlled or limited and this has led the car manufacturers to look at how they dispose of cars and how they re-use materials. To see how they are coping with this, let's look at the example of one car maker - Lexus.

Gone are the days when you will see a dead car at the side of the road - abandoned. Everybody is responsible for their vehicle - whether it be a used Lexus, used BMW or used Lada. When a used Lexus comes to the end of its life, there are provisions in place for the owner to dispose of it responsibly.

To this end, the EU insist that car manufacturers aim for 85% of their vehicles to be recyclable. A used Lexus is capable of meeting this target. All possible materials, from foam residue being turned into sound proofing to glass residue being turned into tiles for landscaping pavements, are recycled to assist the recovery of the planet. Once all recoverable materials have been extracted from a used Lexus, the remainder is melted down into tiny packs for landfill - also reducing the impact on the environment.

Of course, Lexus are not alone in these capabilities as all car manufacturers are coming under these rules. Cooper BMW and Cooper MINI have a very modern programme of recovery and recycling to make efficient use of all end of life vehicles. If only we could get other big businesses to follow suit.

Surely for those big factories that are daily churning out ridiculous amounts of pollution, there must be some way they can alter the impact on the environment? It would at least be something if they could be responsible for recycling their own packaging. It's all very well us having a certain amount of recycling facilities at home but if we truly recycled all our waste, it would mean a weekly trip to a local recycling centre. That would mean a trip in a pollution creating car and that somewhat defeats the object.
About the Author
Environmental expert Catherine Harvey looks at how one car manufacturer is making sure a used Lexus does not have an impact on the environment.
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