I'm not much for most recycling efforts. Too often the cost in energy and chemical waste is greater than any effort to recycle.*
But there are a couple of proven exceptions - aluminum and steel.
I had a close encounter with a curb a while ago. As a result I have been driving around with mis-matched wheels on my old pick-up truck. This not really too big a deal since the truck is 16 years old and old trucks earn the right to look a bit scruffy. Still, it bothered my a little and so when it came time for some new tires I also checked into some new wheels.
Reeling from the sticker shock of 4 new wheels on top of the tire cost, I reconsidered. But, just by chance a local salvage yard had appeared on the store list for my wheel search.
I confess I've never been to the junkyard. I had preconceived notions. This one had a nifty web page. It had a easy multi-function search feature and I quickly located a wheel from a truck just like mine. I drove out to the store and found an office full of computers. They checked my search, confirmed the wheel availability, and gave a kid a locator number. The whole place is organized down to the last part and everything is stored in the computer. The kid took me right to a partially stripped truck. I confirmed that the wheel was identical to the three I had. I went back to the office and the kid delivered the wheel to me in about 10 minutes. It only cost me $25 bucks.
Old cars are picked until all the useful parts are gone. The final end is recycling of the steel itself.
What surpised me was the incredible organization of the place. Also, the only dog I saw was a friendly little chihauhua.
*Penn and Teller on recycling (warning: rough language)