Automotive collision repair

We work with auto collision repair shops to ensure dangerous waste is handled correctly. We offer education and alternatives to prevent pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals. Prevention improves worker health and safety, and can lower annual fees.

Common types of dangerous waste in auto collision repair:

What are the laws?

Washington State enforces its own set of rules when it comes to dangerous waste, in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Auto Body Rule and those under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard.

Auto Body Rule

Any automotive collision repair shop providing paint stripping or surface coating must follow these regulations. Part of the EPA's Collision Repair Campaign, the Auto Body Rule ensures employees, as well as 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


Helping businesses provide healthy workplaces for the environment, workers, and communities is our top priority. Regulations frequently change, and there are always opportunities to improve the way shops run.

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

  • Work with a dangerous waste inspector to ensure best practices. Contact your regional office for help. 
  • The Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair offers online training to keep you updated on all regulations, and make your shop more green.

Why make your shop more green?

Costs of dangerous waste

Any waste often means money loss. It's a sign things aren't running smoothly. Dangerous waste drives up costs through a variety of ways:

  • Storage
  • Record keeping
  • Training
  • Safety programs
  • Disposal
  • Transportation
  • Insurance and regulatory fees

How to go green

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 decreases 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. Read about how this shop in Chicago began using waterborne basecoats with great success.
  • Reuse solvents. Clean parts with used solvent, then a cleaner solvent.


Reusing materials is key to going green. Lowering your shop's environmental impact and therefore improving cost efficiency can mean investing in quality equipment to recycle materials yourself or reaching out to local companies to help you.

These materials can all be recycled either yourself or by someone else:

Invest in your own equipment

Recycling materials on site is one of the best ways to increase material use and lower costs over the long run. Your dangerous waste inspector can give you suggestions about the best type of equipment for your business. Think about buying your own:

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