The global shift towards ‘green’ living is well underway. In line with this, myriad environmentally-friendly initiatives, programmes and products have come to the fore, all of which aim to reduce man’s impact on the environment. Recycling is arguably one of the most widely practiced green initiatives and is usually associated with converting waste glass, paper and plastic into re-usable materials and products. But recycling is also a trait which can be associated with the antiques and salvage car auction industries.
It is interesting to note that both locally and abroad the antiques industry has plugged into the inherent value of promoting their green pedigree and are branding their industry accordingly. The premise being endorsed is simple. Unlike certain other products which may only be partially recycled, all antiques are 100% recycled. In particular, antique furniture is being heralded as a green solution in that it eliminates the need to cut down trees to produce new furniture.
The importance salvage car auctions play on the green front has arguably yet to be fully realised. So says Roy Lazarus of Park Village Auctions which specialises in vehicle and liquidated asset auctions.
Says Lazarus: “Over the years, as green awareness has grown, the vehicle industry has been subjected to criticism for the harm it causes the environment. It responded through producing a range of eco-friendly cars and green vehicle initiatives. But what happens when a car is damaged or written off in an accident? This is where salvage car auctions come in.”
Lazarus explains that if a vehicle has been in an accident, an insurance company will assess the expense of having the vehicle repaired, following which in most cases the company often decides the expense is just too great. At this point, the company will seek a way to recoup some of its expenses through approaching an auction entity such as Park Village Auctions to dispose of the car quickly and efficiently.
More often than not, written off cars cannot be driven again but their parts can be re-used by car refurbishment entities which often attend salvaged car auctions. These cars are also sought after by scrap yard merchants who crush them and sell the metal to be used once more, thereby recycling and doing the environment a service. Lazarus adds that not all salvaged cars cannot be driven again. Indeed, a number of perfectly serviceable “gems” have come of such auctions he says.
“Occasionally, salvaged cars have simply suffered some cosmetic damage caused by, for instance, severe weather. If you are on the lookout for a new vehicle but are watching your costs and aren’t too fussy about the appearance, such cars could be right up your alley. Moreover, cosmetically damaged cars can usually be easily and affordably spruced up which not only suits thrifty buyers but prevents wastage too through preventing a fundamentally sound vehicle from being scrapped,” notes Lazarus.
Interestingly, salvaged cars are increasingly being targeted by non-traditional manufacturers and retailers who are re-using the metal garnered from scrap vehicles to make entirely new products. Indeed, a number of specialised manufacturers and retailers have made it their business to create and sell products derived from wrecked vehicles.
Admittedly the bulk of such entrepreneurs are based outside South Africa but the trend will hopefully be more widely adopted within our borders in the near future. Through purchasing these types of products, many of which can easily be ordered online, people are doing the environment a favour as the metal would otherwise possibly have gone to waste.
In a nutshell therefore, it would appear that the antiques and salvaged car auction industries are meeting the need to go green and are slowly but surely being viewed in a new green light.