Pollution Prevention Guides for 
Auto Body Shops - Fact Sheet 7

Auto Body Solid Waste

During automotive repair, glass, metals, plastics, cardboard, tires and rubber parts, and other non-hazardous solid wastes are generated. Fortunately, the majority of these used materials can be reused or recycled in Montana. Solid wastes that cannot be reused or recycled can be disposed of at your local solid waste management facility (such as a landfill) as long as it has not come in contact with regulated hazardous waste. Contact your local solid waste authority for help in disposing of your waste.

To reduce solid waste in auto body shops:

  • Buy products in bulk whenever possible
  • Reuse used materials on-site
  • Recycle what cannot be reused

Auto Body Solid Waste
1) How much of the vehicle do you reuse?

By salvaging and reusing parts from the automobiles, you can save money on new parts. Many suppliers also sell at reduced cost used or refurbished parts.

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2) What is recyclable in your area?

Check with your local recycling business to determine what is recyclable in your area. The most commonly recycled materials include metal parts, corrugated cardboard, newspapers, white paper, colored paper, computer paper, aluminum cans, and some plastics. Depending upon the market, you might get money for each pound of recyclables you bring in.

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3) Do you pay to have used tires disposed?

Used tires are subject to different regulations and disposal fees across the country. Consult for local regulations and opportunities to recycle or legally dispose.

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4) Are tires stored in a way that reduces the hazard of fire and the accumulation of water?

Tires stored outside can be breeding grounds for disease carrying mosquitos and present a fire hazard. Tires should be stored in a way that keeps out pests and moisture. Do not store them on-site for more than six months.

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5) When replacing asbestos brake shoes and pads, do you collect and contain any loose asbestos that might be released?

Asbestos-containing brake linings include drum brake linings, disc brake pads, and brake blocks. Because of the health and safety concern with handling asbestos, it is important to minimize dust and waste. Never spray the brake with a high pressure stream of water or air. The spray could blow fibers into the shop's air. Gently wet down loose asbestos dust before sweeping the shop floor. If a vacuum is used to contain the asbestos dust, use a system with a HEPA filter (removes dust, fumes, and mist); standard and wet/dry vacuums will not contain the dust.

Non-asbestos brake linings have been developed and are beginning to replace asbestos containing linings in some applications.

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Montana State University Extension Service
Pollution Prevention Program Taylor Hall Bozeman, Montana 59717
(406) 994-3451
funded by
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
(Fact Sheet 7 of 18)

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