The Environmental Impact of Junk RVs: What Happens When You Throw Them Away


When an RV is no longer usable and has reached the unflattering category of junk, it’s actually a lot of junk to get rid of. Earth-friendly RVers may have concerns about what happens to their junk RVs when they dispose of them. Recreational vehicles take up a lot of space and aren’t made of environmentally friendly biodegradable materials. If you’re concerned about where your junk RV goes when you unload it, you’ve come to the right place.

Rather than let it slowly rust away while leaking toxic fluids, sell yours to an interested dealer who sees value in your jalopy. For example, residents of the Baked Bean State can get cash for junk RV in Massachusetts. They’ll dispose of it ethically while leaving you with cash.

Where Does Your Junk RV Go and What Happens to It Once It’s There?

Something as big as a motorhome or a fifth wheel doesn’t just magically disappear when owners dispose of them. It may no longer be taking up space on their property, but it simply doesn’t vanish into thin air. If left abandoned, either on the owner’s property or unethically in a remote location, it’ll sit there as junk long after we’ve gone to meet our makers. So, what happens to a junked rig?

Junk RVs can be particularly difficult to sell. With so many used ones on the market, you’d be hard-pressed to find an easy buyer. Fortunately, there are a few solutions to his difficult dilemma. Let’s take a look at three ways to unload a junk RV and what happens after you sign away ownership.

The Junkyard

Many owners of old, broken-down rigs haul them to their local junk or scrap yard. Although these types of businesses don’t pay much for old motorhomes, it is an ethical way to get rid of them. Junk and scrap yards see the value in the parts and scrap metal they can harvest from them. They’ll strip off any usable components, catalog them, and offer them for resale. All the metal from the rig will be sold as scrap. Any other parts that can be recycled will be used as such.

Although you may not get much for the scrap metal, if your RV is equipped with a catalytic converter, those can fetch a pretty penny. Their value lies in the fact that they contain platinum and palladium. Both of these metals are expensive, plus a working RV catalytic converter can also be resold and reused.

Specialized RV Dealers

Another option, and most likely the most profitable one for the junk RV owner, is to sell it to a specialized junk RV dealer. They pay top dollar for old RVs and are interested in them regardless of age, mileage, condition, or whether they’re running or not. With a junk RV dealer, there’s no need to pay a wrecker to tow yours to them, as most will come to you with payment in hand.

These types of businesses either scrap the metal and also sell off the usable RV components. Since they only deal in RVs, they have a vast network of those looking for parts. However, on some occasions, they’ll rebuild or repair an RV and resell them.

Charitable Organizations

Donating your junk RV is a noble way of getting rid of something that no longer serves you a purpose. Helping the less fortunate by donating your junk RV is a wonderful thing to do. They’ll take them running or not, but not all charities will pay for towing. Like the others mentioned, they’ll either take it to a scrapyard and be paid for its weight in metal. Some will actually repurpose them, turning them into housing for the homeless or for families in need.

A slight benefit to donating your junk RV to a non-profit organization is if they do sell the rig, you’ll be mailed a document stating how much they got for it. This document can be used as proof of a donation and can be used as a write-off the next time you file your taxes.

What Happens To Your Junk RV After You Junk It: Final Words

Many RVers want to dispose of their no longer usable RVs in more ethical ways than ever before. Fortunately, most junk RVs don’t end up being tossed into a landfill. Their parts are either recycled or become temporary housing for those less fortunate until they can get on their feet again.

Unless an RV owner literally abandons their rig in an empty field, most of the time, its disposal is done in an earth-friendly way. To get the best of both worlds, an ethical disposal and some cash in hand, selling a junk RV to a specialized dealer is the way to go. You’ll get money for something most see as useless, and your rig will be repaired or recycled.