2. Social Factors


The worst aspect of windshield wipers biologically is that they aren’t recyclable. Right now the only options users have is to buy blade replacements (which are incredibly hard to use) or to just throw away their used windshield wipers. When thrown away, none of the components of windshield wipers such as aluminum, steel, and rubber are toxic to the environment, they will just sit in a landfill for millions of years to come (“Why Windshield Wipers Should Be Recyclable – Adam’s Auto Advice,” n.d.).

Replacement windshield wipers by Paul's Travel Pictures.
Replacement windshield wipers by Paul’s Travel Pictures.


Windshield wipers are used on cars around the world with typically no cultural upset. They have been accepted into everyday life as a regular part of a car and anyone that uses a car typically uses windshield wipers. Windshield wipers are as universal as car models are although the most popular brand of windshield wipers in one country may differ from the most popular brand in another country. The difference is for no reason more than that one may be more widely sold or that there are language barriers for usage instructions making one brand more user accessible.

The windshield wiper brand TRICO has a Global page on their website which shares their global footprint, global output, and worldwide presence. Their website states that they are present in Argentina, Australia, the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and China. For the most part their presence is limited to manufacturing facilities and design centers (“Global Footprint | TRICO® Windshield Wipers,” n.d.).


Sales for windshield wipers don’t typically go up and down because as long as people are driving, people will need windshield wipers. In very hard financial times it is possible that people will try to cut down on driving or go longer between windshield wiper changes but for the most part people will always need windshield wipers because they are as essential part of a car.

Other ways windshield wipers can be seen as economic is by lasting longer and improving cost efficiency of cars. While some may opt for cheaper windshield wipers, it has been show that opting for higher quality, better designed windshield wipers can save us money in the long run. While more expensive at first, windshield wipers that have silicone and rubber blades instead of only rubber blades last longer while not costing much more. Next, different windshield wiper designs have different weights. There can be as much as a 3.3 pound difference in weight between windshield wipers. While 3.3 pounds doesn’t seem like a substantial difference, scientists say that over time the 3.3 pound difference adds up and really does have an impact on fuel economy (Wayland, 2012).


Politically windshield wipers have not caused a lot of uproar. They have been a part of cars for so long and it’s unlikely any other method of clearing downpour from windshields will be invented. The only way I can see windshield wipers becoming a political concern is because of environmental concerns. It is possible that environmental politicians will try to force windshield wiper manufacturers to work towards being more eco-friendly by making their products recyclable. While this is possible, I think it’s highly unlikely because the design of windshield wipers that keeps the blade so tight to the frame that it can’t be taken apart and recycled is designed that way for a reason. The design makes the windshield wiper more durable and so and legislation that may come along to change the design will likely be quickly knocked down.


Windshield wipers will never be something that is at the front of our minds or something that is important to educate our kids on. Learning to change a windshield wiper is about as important or less important than learning how to change a car. It’s not a skill that a typical person uses daily or even yearly and when we do need the skill, there are people whose job is to do it for us.

The only aspect of windshield wipers that I see as being beneficial to all drivers knowing is how to maintain windshield wipers. Because windshield wipers aren’t recyclable it is important that we try to make them last as long as possible to reduce the amount of windshield wipers going into our landfills. An idea for how to implement this education is putting it into car manuals or educating drivers when they go in for an oil change, service on their vehicle, or windshield wiper replacement.

Windshield Wiper wear and tear signs.
Windshield Wiper wear and tear signs from My Car Needs This.
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