Are there incentives for turning in an older vehicle? 

Yes, there are two programs available in Nova Scotia — Car Heaven and Retire Your Ride. Depending on the age and use of the vehicle, you could be eligible for one or both of these programs.

If your car was manufactured before 1995, is in running condition, and has been registered and insured in the last six months, you can apply to Retire Your Ride. Program participants are eligible for rewards such as a membership and driving credits in Halifax Car Share, $490 towards a bicycle or $300 cash back. The vehicle is picked up from the owner, hazardous materials are removed, salvageable parts are taken, and the rest of the vehicle is sent to be recycled — about 75 per cent of it.

There is interest in having pre-1995 cars retired because they have less air pollution prevention technologies, burn more fossil fuels and have been shown to produce at least 15 times the amount of smog pollutant emissions. Burning fossil fuels through vehicles, heating and electricity generation creates air quality contaminants such as particulate matter (different sizes of chemical dirt that people can inhale) and other chemicals that form with heat to create smog conditions.

Burning fossil fuels also creates greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. These gases rise to higher levels in the atmosphere and help to create a gaseous mix that traps reflected heat closer to the Earth as opposed to going off into space, a chain of events that is helping to speed up climate change. The incentives of this program are geared towards vehicle alternatives that may replace the need for a vehicle or a second vehicle.

Old vehicles can also be recycled through the Car Heaven program. Vehicles don’t have to be insured, or even be running, as long as they are accessible. Similar to Retire Your Ride, hazardous materials like oil and antifreeze will be removed and components salvaged and recycled. Vehicle owners will benefit by having the vehicle picked up and will receive a $35 charitable tax receipt from an affiliate charity of their choice.

Rochelle Owen is director of sustain­­ability at Dalhousie University.  She has worked in the environment and sustainability field for 19 years; rochelle.owen@gmail.com.

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