April 22nd, 2020 – Today marks the 50th Earth Day Celebration. It was on this day in 1970 that 20 million of Americans made their voices heard with respect to the importance of the environment and their desires for significant changes to protect the environment. Over the course of half a century, meaningful progress to improve the environment around us has been made. Reduce, reuse, and recycle has become more than just a catch phrase; it’s a reminder that we need to protect the Earth and preserve it for future generations. OKC Auto Works cares about doing its part to preserve our Earth for future generations. It is for this reason we strive to be a “greener” company.
Many people do not realize that where their car is painted could be an important environmental decision. They want their paint to be shiny, bright, and pristine; without realizing the impact a coat of paint may have for the environment. Some auto body paints can emit volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) into the air, and with the amount of painting an auto body repair shop does in a day, that can be a lot of fumes, spray materials, and noxious gases released into the air. According to the EPA the health risks associated with VOCs include: “Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.” It is for this reason that the EPA recommends using water-based paint over solvent-based paints. In fact, water-based auto body paint can reduce the VOC’s up to 90% – improving the air quality both for the workers & for the earth.
- Better for the environment: A less toxic paint is important to us. Elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after painting or repainting is completed, according to the EPA, and we wanted a less toxic work environment.
- Healthier for your staff: Waterborne paint reduces the emission of VOCs, which improves air quality and reduces the health risks to all those working in our shop.
- New and improved products: Transition to waterborne paint has prompted paint companies to develop new products, we are loving these new more environmentally friendly products we are getting from AkzoNobel and several other of our auto body related vendors.
- Less clearcoat needed: For multiple hues and striping, waterborne paint has an advantage when it comes to spraying due to a thinner application. It takes less clearcoat to even out the surface for the different layers. Less clear coat paint needed, saves money and time.
- Cleaner/brighter than solvent-based paint: In painting with waterborne paint, wet paint tends to have a different hue from the true color. Once it dries, the waterborne paint will take on the true hue. Interestingly, when it comes to the actual color with waterborne, it comes out cleaner/brighter than a solvent-based paint. Auto manufacturers have moved to waterborne paint as well, so using a paint shop that uses waterborne paint makes sense for receiving a showroom finish.
Waterborne paint has been a game changer in our industry with regards to being more respectful to the environment and more caring to the exposures that our technicians and other employees are exposed to day to day. While this has certainly been the largest change, we did change over all the lighting in our shops to LED lights. Not only does this give us better light in which to work and repair vehicles, but LED lights use much less energy over the florescent lighting we previously had. Additionally, we recycle parts and metals whenever possible. We realize that the responsibility to make this planet a better place for the next generations lies in our hands, so we are doing our part to lesson our carbon footprint and to improve our overall “greenness”.