Long-gone, thankfully, are the days when irresponsible workshop operators could pour waste oil and antifreeze down the closest drain and dump old batteries and tyres under the nearest hedge, safe in the knowledge that they would get away with it. Try doing that now and the environmental enforcement authorities will soon be on your trail; and prosecution plus a hefty fine on conviction is likely to follow.
Today the best course of action a responsible workshop can follow is to use a reputable specialist to get rid of all the detritus it generates; but the specialist’s services won’t come free.
Waste Removal & Oil
One of the country’s best-known workshop waste removal and disposal experts is Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire-based Slicker Recycling. “We work with small customers as well as big ones under contract and on an ad hoc basis,” says group marketing co-ordinator, Nic Danby.
Slicker Recycling will take away a workshop’s waste oil for a typical charge of around £150 to £200, he says. Oil usually has to be collected twice a year from most independent workshops, he adds.
A few years ago, workshop owners were able to sell their old oil. “The price has come down to such an extent however that at present you will rarely find people willing to pay for it,” says Danby.
That said, major workshops generating large volumes may find they can obtain a price rebate.
What Happens to Waste Oil?
“We clean it up and turn it into processed fuel oil,” he replies. “A lot of it is exported and usually ends up being burned by overseas power stations. There’s little demand for it from power stations in the UK.”
Other items – old fuel filters, air filters and so on – can be dropped into different containers by workshop staff. Slicker Recycling charges a flat fee of £60 to take them away no matter how many of them are full and need emptying; it could be one, it could be several.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we send nothing to landfill,” he says. Oil can be squeezed out of filters Danby points out and the paper and metal content recycled.
Many workshops buy waste disposal services solely on price, but the cheapest deal may not always be the best one. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Remember to check out the credentials of any waste disposal contractor you appoint thoroughly and ensure the business concerned is properly licensed. As the originator of the waste you are ultimately responsible for what happens to it; and simply blaming the contractor will be no defence if anything goes wrong.
Recycling & Products
You may be able to make use of the waste you generate yourself in some cases. Although it may be something that will be of more use to bodybuilders and repairers than truck and van service workshops, Wood Waste Technology can supply a heater that happily burns any amount of old wood; plywood from the floors of trailers that are being rebuilt for example.
Chester Towbar and Trailer Centre has had one installed in its 5,000 sq ft premises and is pleased with the results says workshop manager, Mike Potts.
“The workshop used to be a cold place to be, especially when we were handling metal towbars,” he recalls. “Now it gets lovely and warm.”
The fuel comes free rather than the business having to pay to dispose of it.
Getting rid of old starter motors, alternators, gearboxes and other key components can be done profitably. They are classed as what is known as core, and have a value because remanufacturers may be able to make use of them.
With its headquarters in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, Premier Components is interested in purchasing such items says manager, commercial products, Keith Beard.
“We’ve got a dozen or so buyers travelling around the country who will take a look at what you have to offer so long as it can be remanufactured,” he says. “Bear in mind though that we pay using BACs rather than cash and that we tend to want a pallet-load of items.”
Its 13,000 sq m warehouse is full of everything from clutches and steering boxes to injectors and diesel pumps, all stocked by part number and all due to be put to work again.
There is of course no reason why you shouldn’t sell recycled second-hand parts yourself. A number of dealerships do, with Scania dealers Keltruck and Truck East among the best examples.
Recycled Parts & Sales
With a recycled parts centre in Stowmarket, Suffolk, Truck East states that it can offer savings of up to 80% compared with new components. Surely this means that sales of its new Scania spares suffer?
Not necessarily – operators who purchase recycled items do not buy new if they can possibly avoid it, the argument runs, and would probably gravitate towards a scrapyard instead. Buying recycled parts from a Scania dealer however means that they are starting to build a relationship with the dealership concerned; and this could lead to them buying brand-new spares in the future.
Transport fleets that buy recycled components win lots of environmental kudos of course. For many hauliers though it is price that matters first and foremost says Ben Last, Truck East’s recycled parts manager; and business selling second-hand components are coming under pressure.
“We’re getting a lot of competition from cheap new pattern parts made in China and there’s no doubt that the factors are becoming far more aggressive,” he says, “That’s had an impact, but Truck East is still doing OK. At present we’re seeing a lot of demand for cab doors.”
A recycled cab door from Truck East for a Scania will set you back £300 while a second-hand cab will cost you £3,000. If you want a pre-owned radiator fan then you will be looking at a £100 bill rising to £2,500 if you need a pre-loved engine.