Professional Carwashing & Detailing

A talk with Mark Brock, Vice President of Marketing

April 14, 2011

On March 11, 2011, Mark Brock, Vice President of Marketing for Lustra spoke to attendees of the Heartland Car Wash Association 2011 Products and Equipment Show about the benefits of going "green". Here is part one of two from his talk.

So what is "green"?

Generally speaking, "green" refers to the design, commercialization and use of processes and products that are feasible and economical while reducing the generation of pollution at the source and while minimizing the risk to human health and the environment. (Source: The Urban Green Partnership). Simply put, in order to be considered "green", what we do, what we make, buy, sell or get rid of, cannot have a negative impact on the environment or the health of anyone.

Given this, you can see there are a lot of opportunities to do things that are considered "green". A lot of the success of operating a "green" business comes from making good and thoughtful decisions.

So what does "green" mean to our industry?

Within the industry, it is a known fact that household washing of vehicles can be harmful to our lakes and streams. More and more communities are beginning to recognize this fact and are banning washing of vehicles that allow waste water and detergents to flow into storm sewers. Consumers don't typically think of soap and what they perceive as lots of water at a commercial wash as being "green". In order to emphasize the fact that washing a car at a commercial car wash is better for the environment comes not only from public awareness of the difference between household washing and a car wash's impact on our lakes and streams but also from the consumers perception of a car wash location's overall commitment to the environment. By implementing "green" initiatives at your wash, you send the message loud and clear that doing business with you is good for the environment. Additionally, staying ahead of state and local regulations-- going beyond community requirements and making sure your community knows it, can make a huge difference when consumers decide where to wash their vehicles.

What is the future of "green"?

You don't have to look very far to see that the movement towards green is widespread and growing. Manufacturers of consumer products are making changes in packaging and formulations to better align to sustainability. Major retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot are defining and implementing sustainable initiatives in products, packaging and operations. The perception is growing among consumers that purchasing green products, even if a little more costly, is the right thing to do. By incorporating green practices in your wash and communicating it to your customers, you can exhibit an advantage over your competitors.

Water Savings

Four fifths of our planet is covered by water. Of that, however, only 3 percent is fresh water and of that 3 percent, only 0.5 percent is usable by humans. Water will soon be the most valuable commodity on the planet unless we collectively conserve. Reclaim systems provide water conservation and save money not only in water use but sewer charges as well. We'll talk more about reclaim and its advantages and challenges later.

Another of the key factors in developing a green business is recycling. It is also one of the easiest to implement. Here's why it matters to recycle. Consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of recycling. Much of the information comes from the youngest members of the family that have learned how waste has an impact on the environment. Americans use over 80 billion aluminum cans every year. An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours—or the equivalent of a half gallon of gasoline. A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.

To produce each week's Sunday newspapers in the U.S., 500,000 trees must be cut down. Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees. If all our nation's newspapers were recycled, we could save about 250 million trees each year.

Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour! Today, most of those bottles are thrown away.

To simply provide recycling containers by your trash receptacles for these materials next to your gas pumps, at the entrance to your wash or in front of your store is a simple yet very effective way to take a step towards becoming a green business.

Next Month: Getting Stated

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