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A sustainable car wash business model

When saving water on a car wash is possible

How can a car wash possibly be sustainable? If a person washes a car once a month on average, at the end of our life’s we would have used about 336,000 litres of water just on that.

Fabian Sena, native to Brazil, opened a business with a new technology that not only would save over 7 million litres of water since they started but also benefited in many ways the communities in the area and other companies involved.

Let’s get started with explanatory infographics that will compare the amount of water A Seco consumed with what a traditional and also a residential car wash would consume.

Residential dry carwash water waste impact infographic

A Seco is the most sustainable car wash, as only 50 ml of water was used for each car. The global impact of the brand was pretty significant: around 25,000 cars for which A Seco used a total amount of 1,250 litres water.

Regarding that, on a traditional carwash, you use around 300 litres for each car, for the same amount of cars they would have used 7.5 million litres. Overall, they saved almost a 98% of water with the A Seco business model.

It turns even worse looking at the amount of water you use if you decide to was the car at your home, as its over 560 litres (260 more than on a traditional carwash). Let’s say you were the car once a month average, in a year you would be using 6,720 litres of water. Now, if you spend around 50 years driving… this means 336,000 litres of water in your lifetime!

If we look at the worldwide statistics on water waste for the car wash, it is pretty scary.

There are 1,282,270,000 of vehicles in use (statistics 2015 OICA International Organisation of Motor Vehicles Manufacturers). If we look into the carwash expense, it means over 15,387,240,000 of washed cars in a year.
The result is over 8.6 BILLION litres of water spent in car washing every year.

 

Now, for sure you want to learn more about an alternative to clean your car. Water is an essential source of our planet, and we don’t want to waste it in car-washing…

 

Fabian, what made you open a car wash in Rio?

When I started the business one of the main issues I wanted to solve was something as simple as timing. When I booked in to clean my car I never knew when it would be finished, so I could not use my time wisely and get organised for the day. This was definitely not sustainable for me, especially living in such a busy city as Rio de Janeiro.

And in such a competitive environment, what made your car wash business different from the others?

We were different in many senses, but we mainly differed from our competitors that we were using a technology that consumed only 50 ml of water for every car cleaned.

So, if you use the traditional car wash system, how many litres would you be using?

If we clean our cars at our home, so-called residential car wash, we would be using around 560 litres each time; easily explained, if we open the water tap for 30 minutes we would spend 500 litres. I used the official government website when I originally did the research.

Nowadays a carwash tunnel spends about 300 litres to clean each car, although some of them are capable of recycling the water; and under those circumstances, they would be using 180 litres – which is still a lot of water!

How do you clean the cars without using water?

Using a technology known as Dry Wash. Basically, it’s a wax that separates the dirt from the vehicle surface, and with a special tissue, we are able to wipe it without leaving any damage to the surface. The wax also protects the vehicle from tough conditions such as the ocean breeze.

My team was organised so that every member had a backpack which contained the kit with enough products to clean 8 cars before they had to come back to the headquarters.

Aside from the number of litres you are saving, what are the other benefits of cleaning a car without water?

A huge benefit from which A Seco gained value was that our dry wash system didn’t leave any traces behind. A conventional car wash would leave the floor all messy and dirty from the water and soap. Because of this, I was able to come to my clients’ homes, residential and commercial buildings and complexes and provide the service without occasioning any filth. That was one of my greatest advantages.

 How else does this business help your community?

By saving time. Our clients could book through and APP created on a platform called Cucco and we would go anywhere to provide the service while they were working or doing whatever. The company was also providing education on how to maintain a vehicle and safety practices. 

You have lived in many places, Brazil, Australia, USA, Hawaii… Have you seen in these countries other companies that are adopting the same techniques?

When I started in 2012 not many companies were doing dry cleaning, especially using just 50ml of water. For anyone who is interested, I recommend to check out Dry Wash, which is the company I sold my business to. If you want to start a business on dry car wash then visit Technotrade; with a branch in Sao Paolo and Miami, it’s the biggest company worldwide where you can get the products from as well as a proper training.

Was there anything else sustainable in your business?

We were collaborating with companies from different sectors, from which everyone benefits financially. Also, all the booking and receipts were made online, avoiding the waste of huge amount of paper.

What is this company up to today?

The company now is providing the service in Shopping Malls and Hospitals parking lots.

What are your next business endeavours?

Shhhhhhhhh… Top secret hahaha!!

 

FABIAN SENA BIO

Born in 1988, has a civil engineering degree and now studying business. Sports and adventures have always driven my days, leading to many travels and cultural experiences, with providing a good understanding of how important the environment is and the need of spreading good practices. Currently living in Australia.

 

Did you know about the amount of water we waste washing our car? Any other ideas to go even more sustainable? Comment below and share your thoughts with the community!

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