Associations Help Produce Quality Recyclers
You may have noticed how your local auto recyclers display their industry association memberships at their businesses; for example membership logos for the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) and / or Iowa Automotive Recyclers (IAR). Many members have also achieved certifications earned through these associations; like ARA’s Certified Auto Recyclers (CAR) and Gold Seal programs and IAR’s Certified Automotive Recyclers Environmental program (I-CARE), which are also proudly displayed. That’s because association memberships and certifications set high standards that these auto recyclers have achieved, which help propel their businesses up and beyond the competition.
Sue Schauls is the executive director of IAR. She said, number one, every association member is licensed. “Some of the people that operate an auto recycling facility are not actually licensed within their state,” she added. Also, every IAR member will be I-CARE certified and will be in compliance with state laws and regulations.
The I-CARE certification program sets standards in four categories that member yards must meet: general business practices, environmental compliance and stewardship, occupational health and safety practices and licensing and regulatory requirements. The certification process is an intensive on-site audit and documentation of the practices at individual Iowa auto recycling facilities. It includes an initial survey and an audit visit by Schauls. During the intensive on-site audit, Schauls consults with the members and offers hands-on assistance to address any practices that may inhibit their certification.
Some examples of the general business practices I-CARE certified facilities must adhere to is to have a well-graded or paved, well-drained customer parking area, separate from the salvage vehicle area. It must maintain a clean and organized retail sales counter and reception area. They must keep their building and property well-maintained, along with delivery and support vehicles.
“Organization begets organization,” said Schauls. “If an owner is organized and compliant, they’re also probably running a more organized business.”
Along with elevated business standards, I-CARE program requires auto recycling facilities to comply with safety and health guidelines, like having OSHA approved eye-wash stations, spill kits and personal protective equipment onsite. The program also has environmental standards, including the removal of fluids, like fuel, used oil and coolants, from dismantled vehicles. These fluids have to be properly stored and recycled.
Just being a member of an association provides numerous benefits for an auto recycler which can help him or her run a professional and successful auto recycling facility.
“When you’re an association member, you stay aware and informed of new laws, training and technology,” said Schauls. “Association members have access to the latest technology provided. Our members stay ahead of the trends.”
IAR members have access to training, webinars and newsletters. Last year at the 2012 IAR Summer Outing event, a spokesman for ALLDATA gave a presentation on OEM repair guides and what auto recyclers need to do to remove parts based on those guides, including dealing with high-strength steel.
“Education is truly the reason why trade associations exist,” Schauls added. Beyond education, association members always have the backing of fellow members. The IAR has more than 60 member yards.
“Buying from members also means getting a warranty on parts,” Schauls explained. “Plus our members are networked with others in the association. If they don’t have the part, they’ll get it for you, so you can still deal with your local recycler.”
For more information about ARA or IAR, or to fi nd a member in your area, you can visit www.a-r-a.org or www.iowaautorecyclers.com. ARA’s site also lists its affiliated member chapters for each state, like IAR, and worldwide under the About Us tab.