I am not saying that they go through tons of generic garbage to hopefully find a clutch actuator for a smart. That would be ridiculous to think.I would respectfully have to disagree.
The odds that the clutch actuator that I took off my smart and threw in the recycle pile then traveled to China and someone there was smart enough to know what vehicle (make, model and year) it was from and then rebuilt it and resold it is all but ZERO!
Now if there was a core charge on the part, ya maybe but there are no actuators for smarts that require a core that I'm aware of?
What I am trying to say above is that tons of items that would normally be considered junk are sent there. Some of that junk is old car parts. Some of the junk is old electronics. They will and do sort through those different parts shipments. Some are labeled some are not. Any item they think they can rebuild and make a profit on they will. All other junk is sorted to see if it has any other value i.e. melted to make new things or processed to capture metals like silver and gold. If it does not have value they just dump it as their environmental standards and laws are much lower.
I you do some research on where most recycled material in the US ends up you may be surprised that it ends up on cargo ships traveling to Asia. This is done for two main reason. The first is listed above. The second is that it’s cheaper to dump items like plastic there then in the US when you factor in environmental cost. Also you have to remember all the cargo ships that come to the US have to have something on them when they go back for their next load. They are not buying cheap electronics from us and the shipping companies make freight going back cheap so the boats won’t be empty as they would rather make some money vs none.
They can do this because labor is extremely cheap. What you spend on food for a day is most likely what they get paid for a week to a month doing what I listed above. So yes they will sort through old car parts and identify it.
Beside where else do you think they get the old units from. It’s not like China has Smart 451’s running all over the place dropping of their old parts at a specific factory to get rebuilt.