industry insider: Scrap your old car, save the planet

We all remember our first car.

For many, it’s a life event. It’s that time we drove off, two hands tightly clutching the steering wheel, with a new sense of freedom and possibility. Oh, the places we could go!

For me, it was a 1965 Oldsmobile F-85 that I got when I was 17 years old. It was my new best friend, and my friends who rode in it with me felt the same way about it too. That car drove me to my high school graduation, my first road trip (without the parents), and my years at UBC, to name just a few of the many memorable moments. I drove that car until I got my first job after university and was able to afford to purchase my first new car.

We all have stories like these about our first car. It’s why car ownership can be so emotional. It’s also why people can even be brought to tears when they have to give up their cars.

Luckily, there’s a program in British Columbia that helps you retire your old vehicle and protect the environment at the same time.

The BC SCRAP-IT Program is a voluntary, not-for-profit, “early retirement” vehicle program that offers incentives to help replace higher polluting vehicles in B.C. with cleaner forms of transportation.

The program is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to lower exhaust pollutants across the province. All scrapped vehicles and their components are properly recycled.

The New Car Dealers Association of BC works closely with the folks at SCRAP-IT to get old, non-environmentally friendly cars off the road. Perhaps it’s a program you want to consider as we near spring cleaning season.

If you retire your 2000 or older vehicle through the program, you will be able to choose from a long list of incentives including transit passes, bicycles, car-sharing memberships, new or used cars, or $200 cash. Models 2000 and older emit up to 60 times more smog-forming emissions than 2008 and later models, according to SCRAP-IT.

Replacing a 1990 sedan with a 2009 hybrid can result in a reduction of up to 67 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions.
So how many ways are there to say goodbye to your old SCRAP-IT-approved vehicle when you drive it to the Schnitzer scrap facility in Surrey?

It turns out some are very happy to say goodbye, good riddance to their clunker.
For many others, there is a box of tissue waiting as tears often flow when the keys are handed over and an often-emotional final goodbye is said to a trusted old friend.

For more information on SCRAP-IT BC, including a list of frequently asked questions and a great instructional video, visit:
There is also a calculator on how many emissions you’ll save if you scrap your old car for a newer model:
Blair Qualey is president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. Email him at [email protected]

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