Auto body shops

Auto body shops regularly generate dangerous wastes that are harmful to human health and the environment.

Learn how to:

  • Identify common dangerous waste at your shop.
  • Stay in compliance with the Dangerous Waste Regulations and other laws.
  • Improve efficiency.
  • Prevent pollution.

Common types of dangerous waste at auto body shops:

What laws do auto body shops have to follow?

Auto body shops must follow the laws under the:

What shops need to follow the Auto Body Rule?

Any auto body shop that provides paint stripping or surface coating must follow the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Auto Body Rule. This rule ensures employees and surrounding communities are protected from inhaling toxic chemicals.

Paint stripping, coating, or spray materials with any of the following are considered toxic:

  • Methylene chloride
  • Chromium
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Nickel
  • Cadmium

Factory with a green leaf
Get pollution prevention technical assistance

Contact us for non-regulatory pollution prevention technical assistance. Our team can help you:

  • Improve overall energy and process efficiency and possibly lower costs.
  • Understand the Dangerous Waste Regulations better.
  • Help you replace toxic chemicals and switch to safer alternatives.
  • Prevent pollution.

Our staff will tailor their recommendations to your unique business needs.

How can your shop stay in compliance?

Follow these tips to ensure your shop runs efficiently and within the law:

What are best practices for auto body shops?

There are a variety of ways to improve your shop's environment and output. Here are a few ideas:

  • Buy only what you need. Less inventory means less chance of waste, contamination, or spills
  • Recycle shop towels. Industrial laundry services can replace the need to buy rags, and decrease waste, costs, and contaminants coming from your shop
  • Mix the smallest amount of paint for a job
  • Replace chromium and lead paints with less toxic versions. Our technical assistance staff can help you switch out your products for safer alternatives that are just as effective
  • Reuse solvents. Clean parts with used solvent, then a cleaner solvent
  • Recycle materials when possible

What are some ways your shop can lower costs?


Recycling materials on-site is one of the best ways to increase material use and lower costs over the long run. These materials can all be recycled yourself or by someone else:

Invest in your own equipment

Having your own equipment can reduce costs by allowing you to recycle on-site or use your materials more efficiently: 

  • Still (to recycle solvents)
  • Electronic paint system (to mix and match paints more efficiently)