The road to Zero Automotive Plastic Waste

The road to Zero Automotive Plastic Waste

As I prepare for my move to the USA next month to take on the most exciting and challenging role to date, I reminisce on the journey over the past 30 years as I strived to innovate the plastic repairs process and advance the management of automotive waste in the automotive repair industry. On the back of my pioneering work I have had the pleasure to contribute in various industry and government led projects, sat on boards and have been a committee member with all efforts directed at developing better ways to manage, regulate and process automotive waste. It’s still hard for me to imagine that this image above taken 6 years ago, when I stood in this very field surrounded by over 200,000 plastic vehicle bumper covers, would be the turning point of my career that excelerated the journey towards one day working in a Net-zero plastic waste industry. As they say, one man’s waste can become another’s treasure. Well, this is a great example of that, as I draw inspiration from this environmental eyesore and made it my mission to push for change and raise awareness in an industry I am very passionate about.

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MTA Successful lobbied Government to change Written Of Vehicle Legislation.

It has been hard work and a lot of dedication, though when you really want to make change the key is raising awareness…….that leads to acceptance, acceptance leads to change! Anyone willing enough to pursue a vision and dare to be a trailblazer must draw inspiration from the negatives and positives. You have to be prepared to be challenged, told you are wasting your time, that it can’t happen, and the rest of the roadblocks put up by narrow minded people and large corporations who allow profits to dictate what happens to our environment at any cost. For me, it came down to just a few key factors, my young family, was that light bulb moment and belief in oneself to be able to leave a legacy behind of my work and achievements. Driven by my passion and perseverance to show my young girls that anything is possible, your voice does matter and as a business owner, I can make change in my business to be more sustainable. It was this combination of factors that led me to innovate plastic waste management and the process of restoration of plastics. The expansion of my business across the world, working with leading collision MSO’s, become an influential voice in our industry and the most rewarding of all, build a team of like-minded employees that have the same values and really are the core to my success.

Innovation the Key to Success

The key to our business success has been investment into innovation and the ability to adapt to the latest social trends that has been the key behind our ongoing recruitment success, collaborating with leaders from industry, research, community, and government to develop and integrate the latest advancements in technology such as 3D printing and new plastic materials compatible with OEM parts, using XR Immersive Technology and adopting mobile cloud based remote training, and assistance software platforms. As a business, we have moved beyond a standardised Trade based service provider and become a progressive company integrating innovation into our DNA and are not afraid to push the boundaries of what is meant to be the norm, even if it means getting it wrong at times or being too early with new solutions for our industry, regrouping and then trying another avenue.

Plastfix 3D Printing Lab -  Printing Plastic Replacement parts & designing new tools

Plastfix 3D Printing Lab – Automotive Plastic Repair Bits

This hard work and dedication has resulted in personal wins, some recently include:

–         Being named as one of the industry’s leading lights

–         Nominated for the life-time achievement award

–         Featured in dozens of media interviews & hundreds of articles globally

–         Invited to speak or be an expert panellist at events across the world

–         Appointed the first IBIS Global Ambassador

I have also enjoyed my time on LinkedIn as an active contributor, connecting with others, sharing ideas and constantly learning, as my network of followers grows to nearly 7000.

The new look Green consumer

In recent society has become more active on sustainability matters, the consumer more vocal and my efforts to date are now coming into fruition. The new push on sustainability driven by climate change, as global communities demand government and industries be more responsible on plastic waste management and have a clear path on their net-zero strategy.

In today’s fight against climate change and becoming more sustainable, we have become familiar with a fresh, new generation of global personalities such as 18-year-old Greta Thunberg, who has become the face of today’s environmental champion, putting pressure on world leaders to take more urgent action on environmental matters. Our Generation Z is being taught at school about sustainability and becoming more environmentally friendly citizens as they adopt new ways of living life, recycling and voting with their wallet, choosing to support businesses and brands that are more green focused through their product or service. This same generation is also starting to influence their parents, such as my 3 young girls who have made me think about how I can be more sustainable at home, taking steps to segregate our waste, reduce energy consumption where we can and avoid SINGLE USE PLASTIC products at the top of our family agenda, but also, influencing me on how to be more responsible in my business.

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This same generation will be the one asking for the green policy or demanding that parts be repaired and not replaced if they fit a criteria and safety is not compromised. It might mean that businesses that don’t comply and keep up with the sustainability drive miss out on new initiatives as the customer and insurance companies lean towards trying to keep this new look consumer satisfied.

The community voice – Right to Repair Movement & more

If we take an example of how society is taking steps to ban single use plastic bags or segregating a 50-gram plastic coke bottle into the right waste bin, though as an industry, its perfectly fine to throw an 8 pound plastic bumper cover in the bin due to a slight impact or many meters of plastic film that covers the vehicles during the painting or preparation process. 

This same community is starting to take action and creating movements such as the Right to Repair movement, gaining fast traction across the world as hubs pop up all over the globe in regions such as Australia, Europe and USA pushing the repair ration at these centres to 46% on electronic goods diverting hundreds of tonnes from land fill and at the same time, further education and changing the mindset of the consumer to be programmed into reuse, recycle and repair. As such moments gain ground, they are starting to expand their scope such as in the USA, farmers have been given the Right to Repair their own equipment as legislation starts to be changed by governments pushing to achieve their own Net-Zero targets and passing this responsibility to industries as well, such as ours. This trend will spread further and reach other industries and sectors of society.

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Some of this proof of the changing times our industry is transitioning through have been evident recently. One example, my recent IBIS TV interview, I campaigned for the urgent need for unity in our industry to improve our environmental sustainability objectives through one industry voice. To my delight, IBIS CEO Jason Mosley stepped in and committed to continue the conversation using the IBIS global network and raise awareness on environmental sustainability in the collision industry. This would be one of the key highlights to date and a milestone I am very proud of as it reflects on some of the hard work I have done in raising awareness for this cause in our industry. I know sustainability will be a key talking point at many more future events and is now on the radar of many collision businesses as they evaluate their net-zero position and determine how they can be more sustainable via ESG programs or inhouse programs directed at becoming a more environmentally friendly organisation. 

My Journey – Key Milestones

Back to “that image” and some history. This plastic waste in the farm was gathered from local collision repair facilities and stored here for sale back into the industry or sold in unregulated markets. I realised this was the catalyst to my journey to date including the formation of Plastfix, creating the Waste Motive Initiative and becoming an Industry Ambassador for IBIS Global. Even though I had been working in the industry for over 20 years at this stage, that very day, I made it my mission to become an environmental crusader and lead the way in finding smart innovative ways to tackle this massive issue of mismanaging automotive plastic parts waste generated by our industry.

My mission has always been with the mindset of building a global network of likeminded business leaders willing to do more for our industry, our community and for the future of our planet. I worked tirelessly to lobbying the government, industry stakeholders and environmental bodies to help address this cause that led to the creation of the Waste Motive Initiative in Australia in 2020. This set the benchmark and demonstrated the widespread commitment the industry had to get involved including some of the world’s leading brands within collision repair, supply, paint, insurance and environmental bodies.

Waste Motive – Automotive Waste Initiative

The instrument that has been the most successful has been creating Plastfix, which was created after recognising the gap in the market for a business to tackle managing plastic waste better on a local level in the collision industry that has expanded into a global leader in automotive plastic restoration services and solutions. This creation proves beyond any doubt that it makes good business sense to be proactive whilst being socially responsible in the environmental landscape. By pursuing my dream of creating a better world, I created Plastfix now managing over 300,000 plastic repairs per year, and of course seeking kindred people to work in it. Together, we have grown a culture that goes hand in hand with sound business practices combined with positive environmental outcomes. Business objectives and environment goals are no longer at opposing ends but are now joined together for a prosperous future, a sustainable future. We pushed the boundaries and changed the norm as we innovated the plastic repair processes. By using no filler or bond, we invented new hand tools using advanced technologies such as 3D printing, developed a state of the art Digital Training studio, cloud based training platform able to scale the delivery of new skills remotely. We created our own speciality range materials, building a paperless business model where all our operation, staff and customers activity is managed via our online / mobile management platform. Each and every aspect took us a step towards becoming a more sustainable business and industry innovator.

Plastfix launch Specialty Tools for Automotive Plastic Repairs

Now the next phase of my journey continues as I prepare to step down from my duties as CEO at Plastfix Australia and New Zealand, relocte my family to the USA in October and take on the most challenging and exhilarating role to date, driving sustainability on a entire new level. More to come on this exciting new venture soon.

I believe the best is yet to come! Watch this space and I hope you enjoyed my story. Feel free to reach out for further information. My door is always open to talk, collaborate or give you my thoughts. 

Watch below my IBIS TV Sustainability Panel 2021 and IBIS USA 2021 interview talking about some of the key topics today and in the future of the Automotive Repair Industry.

IBIS TV Global Summit – Mario Dimovski Interview

IBIS USA – Road to Net Zero Sustainability – Mario Dimovski Interview

Mario Dimovski

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