Five steps every bodyshop can take to improve their environmental sustainability
Spies Hecker is committed to supporting bodyshops in their efforts to think green and to reduce their energy consumption. Spies Hecker Brand Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Joachim Hinz, addresses the importance of sustainability and offers guidance on what bodyshops can do to improve their environmental sustainability.
The environment - a main pillar of sustainability - is under threat from climate change. The groundswell of increased urgency around this means that it is vital for the refinish industry to achieve the right balance of economic growth, environmental care and social responsibility. Car owners are mindful of their choices, and increasingly shrewd about the green credentials of businesses.
Hinz says, “We are at a critical point where businesses must demonstrate environmental awareness in their practices if they want to stay profitable and attractive to today’s environmentally-savvy customer. For bodyshop owners, there are five concrete ways to implement green-thinking from a 360° perspective.”
The first step towards environmental awareness involves a holistic assessment of existing business practices. Hinz continues, “Bodyshop owners should take stock of the products and accessory materials they use as well as the processes they have in place for everything, from the refinish work to the disposal of hazardous waste. Are employees following the most efficient processes and working with minimal materials and resources? Are they properly trained and supported in using the latest low energy systems? Are there newer and more environmentally-responsible options available on the market? Are guidelines for hazardous waste being followed? Once they have a clear picture of where they stand, they can identify where there is room for improvement.”
A commitment to improved environmental sustainability can be achieved by opting for products that allow repairs to be carried out with speed and efficiency. A product range such as Spies Hecker’s Speed-TEC makes repairs faster and more energy efficient whilst providing excellent results.
Hinz explains, “Once an assessment has been carried out, the next step in a green-thinking approach can be something as simple as choosing the right products.”
The Spies Hecker Speed-TEC range allows process times to be cut in half and eliminates extra energy use during drying without compromising on quality. Refinishers can dry at temperatures as low as 20°C, which correlates to a 70 percent energy saving for the bodyshop.
“This low temperature option makes the impact on the environment so much smaller than if the temperatures had to be kept above 65°C and it obviously keeps the energy bills down at the same time,” Hinz says.
Environmental awareness is something that should be shared across the bodyshop. Choosing easy-to-use and energy efficient paint systems is key, but it is equally important to make sure that refinishers are trained in using the products and know how to use accessory materials.
“The third step is all about minimising waste. The less material waste a bodyshop generates, the better it is for the environment and the better it is for the bottom line. When refinishers are fully trained and well-informed about a product, application is easier and throughput is increased. Conversely, when they are not confident about the application process, they might make mistakes resulting in unnecessary waste,” says Hinz.
Spies Hecker offers expert tuition and training courses at modern facilities at 53 locations around Europe. Refinishers learn how to use Spies Hecker products and system solutions correctly in order to help make bodyshop work easier and more efficient.
Waste reduction and disposal
The fourth aspect of environmental sustainability that should underpin the refinish industry involves disposal of any hazardous waste that is generated. Bodyshops must adhere to local laws and EU regulations on the disposal of the products that they use, not only for the health and safety of their employees but also for the benefit and protection of the environment.
Hinz explains, “Anything that has been exposed to paint is considered hazardous, whether it’s a cleaning wipe or rubber gloves. Improperly emptied containers, for example, are considered hazardous waste, and fully drained containers are classified as controlled waste. It’s crucial to make sure that both are kept away from drains and watercourses and disposed of in accordance with environmental regulations. Our product labels and safety data sheets provide important information regarding the disposal.”
Pick the right partner
The fifth and last step in a bodyshop’s journey towards environmental sustainability looks outward at partners, suppliers and other vendors.
Hinz concludes by urging bodyshops to align with like-minded organisations. “As the saying goes, you are only as good as the company you keep, so it is key for bodyshops to affiliate with organisations that will encourage, support and further their efforts to go green. Today, no business is too large or too small to take stock of its environmental impact.”
Ultimately, by choosing the right products, the right people and the right processes, the refinish industry can do its part to protect the environment.
For more information about Spies Hecker, please visit www.spieshecker.com.
About Spies Hecker
Spies Hecker, a global refinish coating brand from Axalta, develops optimum and practical paint system solutions that make bodyshop work easier and more efficient. Originally from Cologne, Germany, and with over 135 years of success behind it, Spies Hecker’s high-quality product systems, customised service and tailored training demonstrate its partnership with the refinish industry. The paint brand is one of the world’s leading vehicle refinish brands, and is available in over 75 countries worldwide.
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