Virtual Collision / Paint Shop
Regulations and Pollution Prevention

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Pollution prevention is not only good for the environment, but it can also save your shop a lot of money in the long run. Because of the high costs of waste disposal, many shop owners and operators are now turning to other methods such as recycling, reducing, reusing, and replacing to manage their wastes. Here is a list of some of the more common wastes, and the methods that are being used to save money, reduce pollution, and respect the environment:

Recycle used solvent or paint in on-site recyclers, or contract recycling to outside firms, old batteries, used car parts, and metal can be sold to recyclers, used antifreeze, oil, and tires can be recycled. Use the 'Blue Box' and other municipal recycling programs for cardboard, paper, plastics, and glass containers.

Reduce the amount of paint and solvent used by spraying with HVLP guns. Mixing the paint using a 'smart scale' and computers will reduce waste. Manage your paint inventory on a first-in first-out basis to minimize stale-dated product. Establish good housekeeping practices, for example, never clean your gun by spraying solvent into the environment. Reduce the amount of cleaners used by cleaning parts with a rag, by using enclosed gun and parts cleaners, install drip pans to catch and recover leaks.

Reuse You may be able to reuse paints, for example by using excess topcoat to tint primers. But check first with your paint supplier. Keep all paint and solvent containers covered to minimize evaporation. Reuse 'dirty' solvent to clean parts. Drain all paint cans into clean containers and reuse the paint collected.

Replace You should be able to replace solvent borne cleaners with less harmful water-based products. Consider the use of water-based basecoats and primers to replace solvent-based products. Encourage customers to switch to longer life oil, longer life maintenance free batteries. Sell a grade of antifreeze that provides maximum lifetime.

The Collision Industry Information Assistance and most paint suppliers offer a course called "Profit from Good Environment Management". Contact the Association (call 1-866-309-4272, or via e-mail at or your paint supplier to find out more about this exciting opportunity to save money and protect the environment.

Environmental regulations, by-laws, and codes exist in every jurisdiction in Canada that govern the use, storage, transportation, and disposal of a shop's waste products. Managing a profitable business, protecting the environment, and ensuring compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, certificates of approval (CofA), industry standards, codes, are important to all shop owners, managers, and employees. So, here is where you can get assistance:

1. Use a licensed waste hauler to dispose of your hazardous wastes. This company can provide advice on what your requirements are for waste disposal.

2. Contact the manufacturer or distributor for information concerning safe handling, use, storage, and disposal of the chemical products you are buying from them.

3. The Collision Industry Information Assistance web site has useful information on environmental and compliance subjects.

4. Get advice from your provincial government ministry that is in charge of the Environment. In Ontario for example, contact your local office of the Ministry of the Environment. See The Operations Division can be reached at

5. The Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention web site provides access to provincial environmental regulations. Provincial authorities are responsible for issuing control orders, warnings, permits, setting fines, and revoking or refusing licenses. For collision repair facilities in Ontario, and elsewhere, this web site can provide you with access to a broad overview of federal, provincial, and municipal environmental regulations that may impact your operations.

This workbook is intended to be a reference for shop owners and is proposed to be used as a guide.

Autobody Profitability Workbook

6. Local Recycling Councils may be able to provide you information regarding recycling of your waste products. In Ontario, see:

7. For a Waste reduction fact sheet, please visit

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Special thanks to CCAR-GreenLink®




The Virtual Collision / Paint Shop is only a graphic representation of a conceptual service and repair facility. The Virtual Collision / Paint Shop only illustrates subjects which call for environmental program management and not as an illustration of good facility layout and design practices.

We do not guarantee the correctness or accuracy of the information, and will not be responsible for incorrect or inaccurate information, or any damage or loss suffered by any person as a result of reliance on such information.

The information presented relates to environmental programs of the Federal government. Regulations, and rulings, of local governments may apply in lieu of, or in addition to, the Federal rules, and should be reviewed before taking any action in reliance on this information.