Compliance Profit

Mar 1, 2023 | Expert Tips, News, Sponsored

By Yermi Mehl

Automate, automate, automate. On the most basic level you want software that will record your activities as you go. It will keep track of fluid inventory, and how much is associated with what vehicle.

The United States is finally catching up with restrictions placed on auto recyclers that have long been in force in the EU, Japan, China, Korea, and Canada.

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In 2020, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) signed the Clean Air Act (CAA) which compels states across the U.S., to control the release of harmful emissions into the air.

Today, U.S. automotive facilities must be compliant in several areas, including depolluting ELVs and having a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC).

For auto recyclers to be in compliance with state regulations they must remove the following from ELVs before shredding:

• Ozone depleting substances

• Oils

• Brake fluids

• Solvents

• Fuels

• Antifreeze

• Lead and lead-acid batteries

• Windshield washer fluids

• Tires

Liquids and gases are required to be held in an EPA-approved container until recycled, reused, or disposed of.

As you can imagine, meeting these requirements comes with a cost.

So how do we remain competitive, profitable and compliant?

1. Use equipment that makes dismantling and depollution highly efficient. There are systems that can make this process turn-key. These include conveyors, titling clamp tables, (that allow the vehicles to be on any angle as you remove parts), and itemized drill pumps that siphon and segment fluids and contain them compliantly without needing further transference.

2. Automate, automate, automate. On the most basic level you want software that will record your activities as you go. It will keep track of fluid inventory, and how much is associated with what vehicle. It can associate destroyed aluminum rims with the license of the car they came from, license plates can be recorded while being shredded. All of this can be synchronized so that every car has all its record-keeping in place as you work. In the high-end automation side, robotic clamp tables can be programmed and adjusted via remote control to work in tandem with a precision car dismantling arm attachment for fast, touchless dismantling of valuable parts such as bumpers, wire harness, engine, axels, and glass.

3. Enhance the value of what you get. A high-quality granulator/separator (chopping line) will increase the value of the aluminum and copper in your wire immensely. It lowers shipping costs and increases value. Typical wheel crushers will cause aluminum rims to crumble, making the aluminum less valuable, but with a wheel separator the aluminum rim can maintain its shape while still rendering it unusable. This provides greater assurance to prospective buyers that they are buying high-grade aluminum.  

4. Build relationships with “cat” dealers, especially if you are selling on assay, which seems to be the most profitable method. It is critical that the dealer knows and trusts you. As buyers notice that you turn up with pure material over and over, they will be comfortable giving preferential pricing to keep you as their supplier. Shredder yards will do the same when your hulks consistently high-quality material that are also free combustible agents.   

5. Use your fluids wisely. Use depollution equipment that gives you a clear visual of the fluids you are draining to establish and store high-quality fluids. You can:

a.  Reuse these commodities on your own operational vehicles and machinery.

b.  Sell them at a higher rate than fluids of questionable quality.

c.  Incentivize your employees offering free gas, washer fluid, and coolant.

Even motor oil can yield a high profit. While it will no longer be fit for use in vehicles, many companies invest in a waste oil burner. This equipment utilizes motor, hydraulic and transmission oil to heat your business!

Taking the “high road” on compliance requires some investment and adjustment, but start small. Perhaps start with my final incentivization program suggestion. See the benefit and then look for other ways to maximize your “compliance profit.” Legislation and enforcement are only going to increase. Some strategic planning will help you remain competitive, attractive to buyers, and environmentally safe. Like with any challenge, we can let it drag us down, or we can come out stronger for it.

Yermi Mehl serves as communications manager for Gensco Equipment, a company serving the recycling industry for over 100 years.

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