Waste Management: MINIMIZE WASTE, SAVE MONEY
Ken Hine and P.J. Hnatiuk
is the sixth and final article on safety, health, and the environment
(S.H.E.) in the collision repair industry, sponsored by the Automotive
Industries Association of Canada's PBE Council. Earlier articles
in the series can be found in BODYSHOP Magazine, dating back to
December 1999. This article outlines guidelines for establishing
a cost effective hazardous waste program in your shop, and some
practical tips from an award winning shop owner. Excerpts from the
AIA's manual entitled "Automotive Waste Management Guidelines*"
have been included in this article.
weary shop owner sat hunched over in the wooden chair, shaking his
head in disbelief. It seemed like a very bad dream. What appeared
to be a short cut to save some money had now cost him dearly. He
and his wife had worked their entire lives building the business
from a one-man operation twenty years ago. As the large courtroom
emptied, the distraught owner turned to his wife and said, "I never
realized we would find ourselves in this situation, never..."
five minutes ago he had been found guilty on all charges of illegally
disposing shop waste. It wasn't just the $10,000 fine, the clean
up costs, and the year of probation that hurt. It was the black
mark left forever on his reputation.
tragic scene need not happen to you or anyone else who owns or operates
a collision repair facility. All shops generate hazardous wastes
that are covered by a complex set of federal, provincial, and municipal
laws and regulations. The shop owner or manager is responsible for
the safe disposal of hazardous wastes. And there are tried and true
hazardous waste management programs that fit the needs of each shop,
big or small.
are five steps that can help you establish a cost effective hazardous
waste management program in your shop.
properly handle a waste, you must first identify it to see if
it is covered by government regulations or codes of practice.
most cases, the supplier of the product or chemicals can help
regulations, the 'waste generator' is the shop owner or manager.
and segregate all wastes generated. Do not mix incompatible wastes.
Substances are incompatible if they produce an explosion, a fire,
heat, pressure build, up, or toxic fumes when mixed together.
Ensure employees are wearing proper personal protective equipment.
See the supplier MSDS.
Store hazardous wastes in properly labeled impermeable containers
with adequate spill containment. Keep containers closed. Clean
up leaks immediately.
of flammable waste such as paints and solvents need to meet special
requirements of provincial regulations or codes. Failure to do
so could result in a fire that can destroy your entire business.
a spill response plan and train staff in dealing with spills of
all sizes and types. Notify the appropriate authorities in the
event of large spill. This normally includes fire department,
police, and provincial environmental authorities.
storage of wastes is typically governed by provincial regulations.
Check with the local authorities. Again, talk to the product supplier.
licensed waste hauler according to federal or provincial transportation
regulations must transport hazardous wastes.
a manifest, or tracking system, is used and keep accurate records
of all shipments. Remember that if the company that hauls away
your waste disposes of it illegally, you could still be held responsible.
for transporting wastes must be of suitable construction, properly
labeled, and securely sealed to avoid leaks.
sure you are dealing with a competent, reputable waste hauler.
is the waste generator's responsibility to ensure that the disposal
services used comply with all regulations, and the disposal site
is licensed to accept the waste.
recycling is the preferred option after waste reduction and reuse
has been considered.
your local Recycling Council for leads on recycling
waste should never go to a landfill, drained into sewers, or poured
on the ground.
may be disposed of with your regular waste hauler if certain conditions
are met (See box insert).
record keeping practices are essential to prove compliance
if the authorities ever investigate you. Think of this like
your income taxes. Here are some tips:
Measure the quantities of your hazardous wastes stored on a regular
a log of this, with the date of your measurements.
a storage area inspection log sheet detailing the containers observed,
their condition, spills or damaged noticed, date of inspection.
independent records of all waste disposal including disposal dates,
quantity & type of waste disposed, hauler's name and address,
and disposal site.
should keep these records in a safe place indefinitely.
the shops I have visited across Canada and the USA, Canadian Auto
Collision in Brantford, Ontario demonstrates the very strong link
between profitability, protection, and a sound environmental program.
next segment of this article, written by P.J. Hnatiuk of Canadian
Auto Collision, provides some practical tips on how you can profit
from waste minimization.
of Empty Containers*
most situations you may dispose of empty containers with your
regular garbage as long as:
All of the material is removed
No more than 1 inch or 2.5 cm of dry residue remains on the
Empty compressed gas cylinders are at atmospheric pressure
Any container that held a hazardous waste has been triple
rinsed using an appropriate solvent, and the solvent with
residue is properly disposed of, or recycled
Variations in these criteria may be encountered across Canada.
Verify with your local authorities
YOUR WASTES, CREATE A MINDSET AND SAVE MONEY
a mindset within your organization that when it comes to supplies
and materials, less is always better.
applying our less is better rule, you can save money, improve your
shop's image, and comply with regulations by taking steps to minimize
your wastes. Here are some tips based on the three Rs (reduce, recycle
OIL: Typically, collision
facilities should not generate too much contaminated waste oil.
Though you should have an assigned area where you can store this
product. Pro-active measures such as having an assigned area will
only help should you encounter an audit and or inspection. LOF (lube
oil filter) is becoming more of a norm in stolen and recovered vehicles
as opposed to the exception. Due to the low retail price of an LOF
most medium to large facilities can't afford the administrative
expenses to send the vehicle off site. A 205 litre (45-gallon) pail
typically costs approximately $90.00 to have a licensed recycler
take it away for you. Did you know that in many municipalities there
are convenient locations where you can drop off used motor oil?
Guess what, up to 20 litres per day ... free!
ANTIFREEZE: There are two choices for collision facilities
when handling Glycol. Within our facility we have special containers
to transfer this fluid from damaged (in-process) radiators to new.
These containers are labeled by RO number to avoid the mistake of
putting the wrong type of Antifreeze in the wrong vehicle. This
fluid is then tested and filtered by our tech prior to topping off
the new radiator. If the glycol does not pass our standard test,
it is than put into a large 205 litre (45-gallon) pail for a licensed
recycler to haul away. An alternative is to purchase a "state of
the art" recycling system. These units offer an environmentally
friendly solution to handle everything from drain and fill operations,
to full recycling including ph-levels. These units are slick, self-contained,
and typically hold approximately 60 litres (15-gallons) of fluid.
Price range is $2800.00.
Pending copper and aluminum prices, you should be receiving approximately
$2.75 per damaged radiator and $1.50 per A/C core. During my last
calendar year revenues from just these two items were $384.00 dollars.
Believe it or not, many collision shops are still putting these
items directly in the garbage. Others are putting them with their
scrap metal, subsequently not getting the returns they should be.
Walk-in type buckets work out great for scrap metal containment.
This is the most effective way to handle your scrap metal on a day-to-day
basis while keeping your facility neat and tidy looking. How many
shops have we seen with that huge scrap metal pile heaped to the
side of their building? You know, the one that takes two of your
employees a minimum of 8 hours to haul away. Even those sub-contractors,
who bang on your door and say they would remove that ugly mound
of scrap for free, are now charging because the current rate for
scrap metal is very low. Stay organized and systemized on a day-to-day
basis; this will allow you to become a more effective manager within
your company. As well, be sure your staff doesn't mix aluminum items,
such as reinforcement bars, body-panels and wheels in with scrap
aluminum solids as I have just mentioned will bring in an additional
$1.54 per kg (70 cents per pound). Guess what the average aluminum
wheel weighs? Approximately 7.2kg or (16 pounds)! You do the math
... Remember that an effective waste management program is one that
is communicated well to its staff members on an on-going basis
Damaged and or poor batteries generate approximately $1.25 per unit.
Recently I have actually started retailing batteries in my collision
facility. Just think of this as another profit center: Make money
on the new batteries and the old that you discard of. Depending
on the arrangements you make with your battery supplier, some require
that you return a battery for every new that you sell. Work out
the numbers and select the best choice, based on service and profitability
in your locality.
are one of those items that simply cost you money! It's a cost you
should be reimbursed for! A number of provinces across Canada have
Used Tire Regulations in place. Check with your local authorities
for proper disposal procedures.
I've been paid, and I've had to pay for the removal of these items.
Currently, our city landfill site allows 200kg (440lbs) per day
for free. But check with your local landfill to see if they have
Probably one of the quickest ways to help clean up your hazardous
waste storage area, increase your safety and net real dollars real
quick. Since 1995 our company has been continuously achieving waste
reduction of approximately 88%. Each cycle represents 26 litres
of dirty contaminated solvent being recycled subsequently leaving
us with approximately 21 litres of clean re-useable solvent. A must
for every facility! You are purchasing less solvent, hauling less
waste off-site, and there are fewer people around to interrupt day-to-day
operations, while maintaining a safer workplace.
Spill decks are literally platforms, which come in a variety of
shapes and sizes. In our location we have two of these units. One
is located underneath our 205 litre (45-gallon) pail of general
use solvent. Our second unit sits underneath our 205-litre (45-gallon)
hazardous waste drum. These units measure approximately 66cm square
and 16cm in height. If either one of these drums begin to leak the
spill would run through the top grid plate of the platform. Once
the volume of the spill capacitates the lower platform a polypropylene-type
bladder automatically rolls out onto the floor and will literally
contain the entire volume of the 205 litre (45-gallon) drum. Hence,
the spill is contained, it has not gone into our drainage system.
There is no need for any environmental report, or expensive clean-up
process. As our solvents are dispensed through a pneumatic pump
we can reverse our check valve. Subsequently we are able to pump
the solvent from the containment bladder back into a new container
for re-use in our facility. What could have been somewhat of an
environmental disaster or workplace hazard, ends up to be a one-hour
set back because of a proactive measure.
I think most of us have probably visited enough collision facilities
over the years and have seen what I call "the gasoline tank-wick
syndrome" (A body shop bomb). A gas tank somewhat full of gasoline,
pushed to the side of a work-stall with a red industrial cloth sticking
in the orifice of the tank, usually half saturated with gasoline
... Torches, grinders, and plasma cutters! I need not say anymore.
Please transfer gasoline in a safe storage containment unit. The
unit we use siphons, filters and dispenses gasoline. It has a capacity
of 120 litres (30 gallons). It's safe, and it stores easily.
As with most facilities we have your typical 6-yard bucket for standard
garbage costing $84.64 a lift and a standard 2-yard bucket for cardboard
costing $24.72 a lift. Oh yes, let's not forget the 3.5% fuel surcharge.
Occasionally, pending circumstances, we will bundle up the cardboard
and run it down to a local firm who takes it away at no cost. Furthermore,
we have a paper compactor that allows us to bundle paper between
34-45kg (75-100lbs). Our can crusher will put a 20 litre/5-gallon
pail down to about 8cm (3-1/4inches). All crushed cans are then
deposited into our scrap-metal bucket for further revenue. Incidentally,
at one time we had our waste buckets picked up weekly; by incorporating
a waste management process and communicating it effectively to our
staff, we now have them picked up only once every three weeks. That's
seventeen times a year versus fifty-two ... using today's rates
that transforms into net savings of $3,961.65.
Hopefully, most of you are now using HVLP (High Volume Low-Pressure)
technology exclusively in your facilities. From acid vinyl-wash
applications, to primer, edging of panels, to top-coating, booth-gel
applications, to vehicle spray-masking, your employees should not
be holding anything less efficient. Older types of refinishing guns
transferred an average of 25-35 per cent of material being sprayed,
with as much as 75 percent of the paint material being exhausted
as over-spray. With HVLP technology and HS (High Solid) applications
you can increase your transfer efficiency upward to 70 percent.
It's in your best interest that this is mandated as a minimum requirement
in your company.
Computerized mixing scales not only allow quicker formula retrieval,
but also automates mixing and labeling paint, job cost and inventory
information, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) information, VOC
(Volatile Organic Compound) information and tracking. Furthermore,
for the first time, it allows us to make smaller, yet precise increments
of paint formulations. If in-fact there happens to be an over-pour
while formulating a color, a quick feather touch control allows
automatic re-calibration of the formula for sheer accuracy, not
waste and expense.
Today, Waterborne Products have better hiding power than ever before.
Higher brilliance of the color shades, faster wet-on-wet applications
without intermediate flash-off times, safer during spraying, and
minimal over-spray are only a few of the advantages. More environmentally
friendly, massive reductions of solvents, 90% in base color processing
and 100% in tool and equipment cleaning. Less smell development
and the reduction of paint material by another 10%, mud disposal
by 90%. Currently in our facility we are refinishing all complete
applications with Waterborne Products.
Finally I would like to share with you something that one of my
staff members stumbled across as a result of our continuous mandate
"Less is Better". This procedure which we have incorporated into
our daily operations over the last year, has added an additional
$600.00 plus dollars to my bottom line. More importantly, 15.5 litres
of chemicals were redirected away from our landfill sites. Could
you imagine multiplying these results across Canada? The savings,
both financially and environmentally would be dramatic. It's as
simply as putting what appears to be an empty 3.5 litre HS (High
Solid) Clear container on a draining-jig (angled platform) and literally
obtaining 3-5 fluid ounces of virgin HS Clear. Currently we are
making these units in stainless steel for distribution (we have
two units mounted side by side at the end of our refinisher's mixing
bench). Lower VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) typically means
denser, thicker products. Remember, standing the syrup bottle or
Ketchup bottle on its cap ... same principal and by the fluid ounce
you're paying far superior for HS Clear than you are for the above
commodities. If that didn't quite register, you're paying upwards
50 cents more per fluid ounce of HS Clear than you are for your
favorite shot of liquor. Do you leave 3-5 fluid ounces of liquor
in your bottles before placing them in your Blue-Box? If you do,
I can almost guarantee early pick-up (my email address is below)
because a whole lot more than glass content would surely be getting
Twain once wrote, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
The secret of getting started is breaking our complexes, our overwhelming
tasks, into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first
get started, and be on your way to a healthier, safer, more profitable
and marketable facility.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Automotive
Industries Association of Canada, and in particular Ms. Beverlie
Ken Hine is a consultant with Hine & Associates, a firm providing
services to the automotive industry in the areas of technology,
regulations, and safety, health, and the environment. He is Chairman
of the PBE Council's SHE Committee, and can be reached with comments
on this article by phone 905-883-1160 or by email to email@example.com.
P.J. Hnatiuk is vice-president and general manager of Canadian Auto
Collision and Canadian Auto Glass in Brantford Ontario. His companies
are recent recipients of numerous Environmental Awards, including
Provincial and Federal Titles. He can be reached for comments by
phone 519-752-5491 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
obtain a copy of the AIA's Waste Management Manual, containing gems
of valuable information, contact the Automotive Industries Association
of Canada in Ottawa, 613-728-5821, or via email, email@example.com.