Going Green Is A Golden Opportunity
These days, more and more households are embracing environmentally friendly practices. They’re doing their part by doing things like recycling everything, buying energy-efficient vehicles, using environmentally friendly products and dialing back the thermostat.
Businesses are going green, as well. They realize it’s not just good for the environment, it’s good for the bottom line, not just in terms of profits, but as an excellent marketing opportunity as well. Customers appreciate and support green businesses. But, how can an auto repair shop like yours benefit from going green? The following outlines a number of tips and suggestions to get you on the green bandwagon. Plus, there are additional resources both locally and on the Internet to help you be environmentally friendly.
OPERATION: GREEN CORE
This program is a partnership between your shop, your wholesale dealer and Mopar®. Its purpose is to collect and return damaged front and rear fascia cores to Mopar for environmentally responsible recycling. Since fascia cores are plastic, returning them for shredding and reprocessing to create new O.E.-quality vehicle parts makes the most sense, instead of remanufacturing them as in the case of steel and metal parts, such as engines and axles. And when you return damaged fascias, you’ll receive credit from your wholesale dealer.
The program is so successful that in just its first year of implementation, over 307,000 fascias were recycled. That meant that over 2,015,200 lbs. of fascia material was kept out of landfills. That is a staggering number and, thanks to the program, it’s sure to continue to increase over the next decade.
A CLEANER WAY TO GO
One way to show your green is by reducing the use of solvent cleaners in your shop — use an enclosed solvent gun washing system when cleaning equipment and turn off the parts cleaner when it’s not in use. This can reduce solvent evaporation and reduce pollution by 70% to 90%. To be more environmentally friendly, use a water-based cleaning system like hot soap washers and be sure to recycle old solvents by using an on-site distillation unit.
HVLP IS KING
Using high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) spray guns reduces labor time and product costs, as well as pollution. Also, try to minimize waste and spills when mixing paint and reduce vapors and waste by using airtight containers.
WATER IS A LIQUID ASSET
If you can, use less-toxic, waterborne or higher solids paints, and opt for solvents with low hazardous pollutant and volatile organic compound content.
You can minimize dust from sanding operations by using a vacuum sander which collects dust during sanding. Also, be sure to leave work clothes and shoes at the shop and for the most ideal results, have uniform work clothes cleaned by a professional laundering service. This reduces exposure to Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) and reduces the chance of dust settling on freshly painted surfaces.
RECYCLE. RECYCLE. RECYCLE.
One of the greenest practices for most businesses is simply recycling. Order recycling containers for paper products — like newspapers and magazines — cardboard, plastics and glass. Be sure to encourage your employees to participate. You’ll be surprised to see the reduction of trash your shop puts out when you actively recycle, saving your business the other kind of green.
A FEW MORE TIPS
• Clean up spills immediately and use dry clean-up practices
• Reduce paper — use online records for your customers
• Install timers and motion sensors for your lights
• Order motor oil, anti-freeze and other fluids in bulk,
• Purchase energy-efficient lights rather than in multiple individual containers
These are just some of the ways your shop can go green. Be sure to consult with your local environmental groups to get more information. Or visit websites like epa.gov.