Industry Insiders: Steve Fletcher and Canadian Auto Recycling Pt. 2
We recently caught up with Steve Fletcher, Managing Director of Automotive Recyclers of Canada. Fletcher has extensive experience as an executive in this industry with a very active online presence. Below, we discuss how he brings structure into Canadian auto ecycling, helping small businesses thrive through the creation of auto recycling oppportunities and how social media has helped his Association. Part 2 of 2 is below.
Hollander: Can you tell us about the Tundra Take Back initiative and some of your other philanthropic efforts?
Steve Fletcher: The Tundra Take Back, the model that we pitched to government and other industries, was born out of the idea that every vehicle should be effectively processed. With the Tundra Take Back, we work in Canada's far north, where people don't have the population or access to scrap market. So, we decided to spend some time and resources to find out what is going on in the North with auto recycling, and how we can better it. We hope to be a catalyst of change up there, making our resources (industry professionals, knowledge and experience) available to improve how vehicles are recycled.
Hollander: So when you send someone up to the North to help with the Tundra Take Back, what do they do? What does that project consist of?
Steve: Members will go up north to teach the people how to sustainably recycle. During our teaching, we look at the infrastructure in place and provide solutions that work. All the members are very hands-on people that start with small parts and dismantling vehicles. They still retain that very practical approach to things and then begin overseeing the process, problem solving, and pointing out tips and tricks of the trade.
Hollander: What's next for it?
Steve: Two years ago we were in Nunavut and this year we went to northern Ontario and Labrador. Some of these projects lead to struggles such as finding funding, finding the community partners, and lining everything up. Summerhill Impact is leading it, and we’re there to provide some funding and expertise. There’s discussion about going back to Nunavut and also Manitoba. The Churchill Manitoba is on the Hudson Bay and is considered the gateway to the north. It is a world class tourist destination because of the polar bears; however, there’s a growing metals and vehicle problem that we’d like to address there. Our starting point for that would be to begin dialogue with the Manitoba government on auto recycling laws. I think realistically we would like to be in three to four locations but we are just the catalyst for others to join in to help.
Hollander: Where can we learn more about this?
Steve: The website is summerhillimpact.org.
Hollander: What has been the most meaningful part of working in this industry for you? Do you have any highlights?
Steve: Five years ago Canada came up with the National Vehicle Scrappage program--Retire Your Ride. It was a program run by the federal government to reduce emissions in vehicles by providing incentives to retire 1995 or older vehicles. The program lasted for about three years and we provided much of the infrastructure for the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 vehicles that were retired. They didn’t want to create one problem (waste generated from vehicles) by solving another problem (removing older polluting vehicles).
Through the development of the program they discovered that the historical licensing of auto recyclers was insufficient. They hired us to come up with a code of practice for all auto recyclers participating in the program. When the program ended, the code of practice we created turned out to be a great resource and we received intellectual property rights for processes and protocols as well as the name, Canadian Automotive Recyclers Environmental Code or CAREC. All of our members are audited to that code that is renewed every two to three years depending on their score. This code has allowed us to talk to the government, the media, and manufacturers. It has become our mission statement on what we do. CAREC is something that our members live, breathe, and work towards. Because we are a voluntary association, the program is our regulated standard, in hopes that others in the industry strive for the program standard as well
Hollander: Sounds like a huge success that’s really making a difference, so congratulations!
Steve: It really helps define who we are. Members were hesitant at first with a new standard but soon they wished their own businesses had been built on our standard. It’s very rewarding having the government and media recognize our code.
Hollander: Is there anything else you want to share with us or anything I didn’t ask you that you want to talk about?
Steve: It’s great that more and more Americans are beginning to look at what we do and engage manufacturers and government officials in a positive way to shed light on awareness. I travel to the US all the time to give presentations on what we do. The US has changed their certification program to one based more on our system.
Hollander: It’s great, sure sounds like there’s a lot to learn from you and your teams. So thank you for sharing all of this with us!