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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tri-Industry Panel Meets to Promote Green Parts

TORONTO, ON -- April 27, 2009 -- A tri-industry panel meeting took place recently to discuss the best strategies to promote the use of recycled parts. The meeting drew together insurers, auto recyclers, and collision repairers.

Appropriately scheduled on Earth Day, key members of the respective industries critiqued existing marketing strategies and tactics in terms of increasing the use of Green Parts in the collision repair industry. The meeting was organized by Collision Repair magazine.

“The purpose of the meeting was to discuss current and new marketing collateral that would help further the cause,” said Darryl Simmons, publisher of Collision Repair magazine. “Whether discussing green initiatives or other matters, just having all three industries in one room and talking is going to help achieve positive results.”

The current brochure and matching poster were devised by the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association (OARA), as part of that organization’s Green Parts marketing initiative. These materials were discussed and a number of suggestions for changes were made.
The panel discussed both content and delivery of the Green Parts message, including wording, graphics and overall presentation. It was determined that there will be a brochure, a poster and an 8 1/2 by 11 stand-up card, which will be made with a recycled cardboard backing.

The panel also devised plans to educate collision repair shops and the general public about all the benefits of using Green Parts. This included the possibility of training collision shop personnel on ways order to encourage customers to choose recycled parts.

There are essentially two audiences that need increased awareness. The first group is comprised of collision repair facilities. Specific information on the value of Green Parts in terms of improved productivity through time and cost savings needs to make its way into the hands of shop owner.

The other group is motorists themselves. In order to engage the general public into learning more about Green Parts, the panel suggested visiting schools and sending promotional packages to media outlets, as well as educating customers directly at the shop level.

“I think there’s value in promoting Green Parts to our customers,” said Sam Piercey of Budds’ Collision Services in Oakville, Ontario and a member of the tri-industry panel. “Being an environmentally concerned shop can be a great marketing opportunity for us if we’re smart enough to use it the right way.”

After the meeting about messaging concluded, the attendees used the opportunity to discuss other matters. It was mentioned that the simple matter of talking around the table was a big step in improving communications and understanding.

Collision Repair magazine will be undertaking a series of such panels to promote inter-industry communications. Watch this space for more information in the near future.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pièces d'autos CGN ltée de Laval

Chronique environnementale traitant du recyclage automobile. Chroniqueur : M. Frédéric Charpentier, de l'émission Le Guide de l'auto, diffusée à Vox tv. Vidéo tournée le 30 mars 2009 chez Pièces d'autos CGN ltée de Laval, membre de l'ARPAC.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Auto Recyclers of Canada (ARC) shines at the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF)

On a cold winter day in Toronto, before a packed audience with the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF), the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) held centre stage among some of Canada's brightest repairers and insurers.

The CCIF provides a forum for the collision repair industry to share information, best practices and a means to develop solutions to common national issues and challenges. Meeting quarterly across Canada, the CCIF attracts some of Canada's best and brightest minds involved in the collision repair economy. The largest event is always held in Toronto in January, and this year was no exception - 275 delegates representing every province (plus four Americans). Collision repairers make up the biggest audience, followed by suppliers and service provides, and an impressive 10% of the participants were insurers. Our recycler numbers were down a bit with just 8 present, but our influence remains strong within the group.

And this is a group you want to influence and remain an active part of - the CCIF lives by the motto "we are not an association and have no direct lobbying status. However, we provide inspiration, influence and direction to those that do." ARC established itself as a Silver Sponsor to the group, to ensure that recycler involvement is seen and recognized on a consistent basis.

The meeting had a green tinge to it, not only discussing the economy and the impact on the repair sector, but the environmental greening of the sector as well. ARC was asked to present its involvement in the national Mercury Switch Out recovery program. Unlike our US colleagues, Canadian auto recyclers participate in the program without direct financial compensation. That only leaves us some marketing slogans, but we decided to make the best of it. At this time ARC Members are submitting over 95% of the total switches collected and that gives us all the ammunition we need to separate ARC Members from the rest of the industry.

I presented three reasons for ARC Members to participate: 1) Its the right thing from an environmental perspective. Our Members work, live and play in their communities and have a responsibility to leave them in a better state than before; 2) participating attracts positive press and government relations opportunities for the industry and the industry associations; and 3) participating provides great local opportunities for individual Members to demonstrate their environmental commitment. I showed a video news clip of one of our Members, Logel's Auto Parts in Kitchener Ontario, a past recipient of the CAR Member of the Year Award, hosting the federal Minister of Environment at the introduction of the Switch Out Program. The clip was featured on the national CTV network. You probably can't put a price on a two minute ad within the national news, but that's what we got and that's what Logel's received as well.

After the presentation, I had numerous businesses congratulate ARC on it progressive environmental approach to marketing (we also distributed our new Green Parts brochure and the 3rd Edition of the Canadian Auto Recycler Magazine to all delegates) and the leadership role we play within the overall collision repair industry. I even had an insurer comment that our industry should be handling all the salvage in the country - they had no idea how much we did to keep the environment clean.

If you ever get an opportunity to talk about your business or your industry to a group who knows nothing about us or who should know more - make the investment and educate as many people as you can about the great things we do. Start small with a local school or service club, and grow your confidence and ability with larger and even more challenging situations. our industry is not blessed with the advertising budgets it takes to re-educate public and government opinion of our industry, but we do have the people and the message that has never rung truer, "Auto recyclers are part of the solution."

"The CCIF conference is one of the opportunities I have during the year to network with my primary customer group but at the same time learn what is challenging them as an industry so I can be a better business partner to them. I always walk away with a little better insight into the collision industry and invariably a new customer or two." Benjy Katz, LKQ Dominion Auto Recycling Inc.

"The dialogue is consistently the best part of these meetings. The meetings give the attendees an opportunity to have a glimpse at the issues that affect the people they deal with every day. An empathy with the issues that affect your customers and suppliers can strengthen your relationship. Add to that the reciprocal effect which occurs when your customer or supplier knows you are actively interested in finding ways to help them." Jeff Smith,

"As a recycler, I believe that if I were aware that as many as 70 to 100 of my customers or potential customers were assembling in one room on a given day in my city, I think I would consider that a major business opportunity." Glenn Hickey, Auto Parts Network

"After a day at CCIF you’ll feel good about your industry and be inspired to take action." Mike Bryan, CCIF Administrator

Steve Fletcher, ARC Managing Director

Environmental Fees Helping Recyclers

More and more Canadian Auto Recyclers are charging an environmental fee on every invoice they issue. "Green Parts" not only help preserve our environment by avoiding the production of a new part, but the very process of removing, testing and storing that part is also helpful to the environment - when done right.

Implementing a cost recovery program not only helps the bottom line directly, but the policy supports professional auto recyclers and dismantlers role as stewards of our environment.

Environmental cost recovery programs are not new in the automotive world. Chances are, every time you get an oil change, you are paying an environmental levy of some kind. Many Canadian provinces are also putting in place environmental fees when consumers buy automotive products too - tires, oil filters, batteries. Some programs return money to the recycler who collects and properly disposes of the waste, but they all raise awareness of the cost to protect our environment.

Recyclers know that there are numerous costs associated with processing vehicles the right way - in a manner that is consistent with protecting our precious environment. We need to educate all consumers, stakeholders and government agencies to ensure that they understand the severity of the issues and support the legitimate auto recycling industry.

John Logel, owner of Logel Auto Parts in Kitchener Ontario put this idea in to practice last May. Since that time they have had no negative feedback from consumers and in fact several have commented that this was a good thing. "We are only using it with our retail customers at this time - shops and insurers don't seem ready to support our environmental efforts, but we think they will come around. These fees are very consistent with out business philosophy of being good to the environment and the community."

Auto Recyclers should incorporate these various environmental levies across the board, so when the time comes to pay fees to dispose of certain wastes, they will not be afraid to write that cheque. Hold your head up high regarding your role in the environment. Let your community and politicians know. Tell your children you did your part in preserving their future.

David Gold from Standard Auto Wreckers in Toronto ON summed the idea up perfectly. "Cost recovery programs are just that - ‘covering costs‘ and automotive recyclers need not feel ashamed to get compensated for the safe disposal of these hazardous materials. In fact, I would suggest that it is the responsibility of each auto recycler to highlight the benefits that professional automotive recyclers contribute to their local communities, and in doing so it will become clear that costs of the services that auto recyclers provide are well worth it and of great value."

Green initiatives all about son, auto recycler says

Greg Woodbeck has just one reason for taking his company in a greener direction.

"It's strictly because I have a son of my own," Woodbeck, who with father Bruce owns Woodbeck Auto Parts, said Monday.
The company has long had an environmentally-friendly approach, and this spring joined for two new programs.

Green Parts is a program of the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association that encourages reusing quality parts to reduce both landfill waste and the need for making new parts.

Retire Your Ride is a team effort by the federal government, the Clean Air Foundation, and several partners. Together they aim to get 1995-model vehicles and older models -- the highways' worst polluters -- off the road.

Woodbeck said he needed to look no further than his son when deciding to enter the programs and work toward a greener planet.

"I want the world to be just as good for him as it was for me. I know it sounds a little cliché but it's the truth," he said.
"I personally don't view it as though there needs to be another reason. Everybody knows the world's resources are exhaustible, so why don't we recycle them?"

Through various programs, the Woodbecks must adhere to a variety of strict rules governing disposal of auto components, fluids, tires and more.

"It's a variable that we as an automotive recycling facility can control, and if we can bring on more people to do it, even better," Woodbeck said.

Lisa Tait of the Clean Air Foundation is program director of Retire Your Ride, which has yet to be launched officially but is already making progress.

"Although we haven't done anything official we already have about 1,500 cars scrapped across the country."

Of the 113 Canadian auto recyclers involved to date, 81 are in Ontario.

"The recyclers over the last few months have been pretty excited to be involved," Tait said. "We're signing on new people every day ... literally."

Retire Your Ride offers incentives for owners of older vehicles to turn them in to recyclers. The Ontario incentive is $300 cash; other provinces have deals on transit passes, bicycles, car-sharing memberships, and other vehicles.

Tait said more incentives for Ontarians are in the works.

She and Woodbeck said the feel-good factor is the main motivator for drivers and recyclers to get involved.

Owners getting rid of their old vehicles can get some cash and know the car will no longer be a polluter and will be recycled in an environmentally-sound manner, she said.

"They actually contribute to most of the pollution on our roadways," she said, saying a car built in 1995 or earlier may produce 19 times more smog than a car built for example in 2004.

Tait said Environment Canada as part of the program is also developing a code of practice for recyclers.
"This is a step forward for the auto recycling industry," she said.

Woodbeck, meanwhile, said the company will continue to improve its environmentally-responsible methods. Under Green Parts, he said, the business must maintain a green standard and is expected to improve its practices with each year.

Being greener does not yet appear to have resulted in new business for his company, Woodbeck said, but more people are willing to use Earth-friendly options.

"We like to think that they come to us for good products and the fact we're doing the right thing environmentally."

That, he said, makes the extra labour involved worthwhile.

For more information: Retire Your
Ride: www.retireyourride.caor 1-877-773-1996.
Green Parts: www.oara.comor 1-800-390-8743.