New cars are made with many new materials and technologies in all the right places. They are made strong, lightweight and increasingly with an eye towards the environment from day one.
Much has been said about the need for the world to go greener, and there are many answers for this. But the answers aren’t as easy or simple as we may think.
Take electric cars and hybrids for example. Yes they should pollute less, but the source of the electricity (which we as individuals cannot control generally) may well be a hugely environment-damaging dirty coal-fired plant. And an electric vehicle may well make sense in a more mature environment but not in a country or region where charging stations are few and far-between. Hence the appeal of hybrids.
What about lifespans and maintenance? As many collectors and enthusiast know, cars just aren’t made the same way as before. True they are safer and more efficient but they are also more complicated and honestly built to not last as long. This is in some way a function of environmental friendliness. Car company its have to build vehicles with certain levels of materials-reclamation in mind. So electrical wires may degrade more easily, for example. Car recycling in modern countries is easier than ever.
Now all this isn’t great for people who like to keep cars running for long periods, but it isn’t meant for us. It is meant for large markets that have easy access to systems that will take old products and reclaim that they can. In some markets it is as simple as going online and googling how to scrap metal for cash. Quite educational by the way. It certainly shows us how far we still have to go.
But that doesn’t help those of us who don’t have access to places or services like that. And it doesn’t help the environment either. In many cases and countries, cars just get passed around until they get abandoned and left to decay. This is especially true in cases such as that of the Philippines, where regulations for many years have pushed the need to keep old cars on the road because you need to have a second car for when the first one is banned from use.
Almost all global corporations now, at least the most responsible ones, need to think about a product from beginning to end. They need to build in the ability to reclaim old products, perhaps refurbish them or at least dispose of them properly. Maybe even use the materials again. If you don’t, such as in the case of Nespresso, good products that serve a need may well be looked down upon because of the waste they produce.
The end result of all this is, hopefully, a better world for everyone.