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Taking a Lesson from Cash for Clunkers, Why Don’t We Recycle Old Cars?

clunkers; file photo

Question: With the success of the cash for clunkers program coupled with all of the auto plants that had to close this past year, why doesn’t the auto industry, the government, or some young entrepreneur reopen some of these plants — except instead of assembling new cars, dismantle and recycle the old ones?

Paul Solman: Well, in a sense, we do. We recycle clunkers. We melt them down for scrap. We then reuse the steel made from the scrap to build the clunkers of tomorrow. Presumably, this is the cheapest approach because if it paid to dismantle and recycle, as you suggest, then you and I (or someone else) would already be in the business, and making a pretty penny.

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