New research argues that the "Cash for Clunkers" program, in which people could trade in old cars for cash, actually harmed the environment.

In 2009, the Car Allowance Rebates System (CARS) program offered people $4,500 to trade in old cars. The idea was that they could then purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles, and in fact, the Department of Transportation claims people bought cars that averaged 25.4 mpg, in comparison to the cars given up, which averaged 15.8 mpg, according to EMagazine.

But the Automotive Recyclers Association said that while almost every party of automobiles are in fact recyclable, "many of the 'Cash for Clunkers' cars were never sent to recycling facilities."

And, according to EMagazine, many went to junkyards and were shredded. "For each ton of metal recovered by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of shredder residue are produced, meaning about 3 to 4.5 million tons of shredder residue is sent to landfills every year," the article read.

In all, the program failed to recycle 690,000 vehicles according to the magazine.

Watch the video, via Newsy, below.

[Image: Tony Fischer Photography via Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]