People are flocking to Greater Vancouver because of its livability and beauty. But more people also means an increase in cars and traffic. With this added congestion on the bridges, highways, and roadways, vehicles will suffer more wear and tear. In the Lower Mainland, and all around the world, more people are buying and trading in their old and used cars for newer models. In fact, about 6 percent for the world’s waste comes from vehicles. In Canada alone, each year, 700,000 cars are junked.
As more cars come in, there are many ways your local mechanic or auto body centres can recycle parts and help the environment. One of the easiest parts to recycle is the bumper. The majority of modern bumpers are made out of plastic and are usually the first thing to be discarded in an accident. In fact, the percentage of plastics used in vehicles has risen in recent years, however the proportion of plastics recovered and recycled has not. A lot of bumpers and other plastic is cut up and ends up in the trash. At Tom’s Custom Auto Body, we take special care to make sure all the plastic – mostly fender liners and bumpers – is recycled.
The new lightbulbs in today’s cars are packed with new technology, like the high-intensity discharge (HID) bulb, making night vision better, pedestrians much easier to spot, but they are also notoriously difficult to recycle because most places will not accept these types of bulbs, so many of them simply end up in the landfill. We do our best to recycle headlights whenever possible. Thankfully, manufacturers are becoming more mindful of the environment and are making their new high-tech bulbs recyclable.
Another area that impacts the environment is automotive paint, which usually consists of one of two chemical compounds: enamel, or urethane. Enamel usually dries to a glossy finish while Urethanes are a more durable product. Most new cars are now painted with a type of urethane and most collision centres use urethane to repair damage. However, Urethane can be poisonous, and causes chemicals to be released into the air when the paint is atomized and damages the Ozone.
At Tom’s Custom Auto Body, we are one of the few North American auto body repair shops that use water-based paints, an environmental alternative. Water-based paints are a clean, nontoxic alternative that have been the European standard for several years because of their stricter regulations than in North America. However, regulations in Canada and the United State will likely catch up and water-based paints, which are just as good as the alternatives, will probably be the industry standard within a couple of years.
Lastly, the paper sheets used to cover the car while it is being painted are also recycled at Tom’s Custom Auto Body. Since we do a lot of touch-ups and paint jobs, we go through a lot of paper. We make sure that all of these go into the recycling bin so nothing is wasted.
By recycling and using environmental alternatives, we not only sustain a global recycling industry that claims over 12 million vehicles across North America annually, but we also help preserve the Earth for a new generation of car owners.
Tom’s Custom Auto Body has been on the forefront of environmental sustainability ever since 1991 and we have been recognized in the industry for our work.