Volume 9, Issue 2 - March/April/May 2007

Expert Advice
pros who know

Go Green
by Kerry Wanstrath

Global warming is a much talked about, controversial topic. I think we are already into global weather changes that may be irreversible. Don’t make the mistake of stereotyping me. I have been a conservative most of my life. But this issue is not and should not be political. Maybe I’m naive for my age, but I like to believe we all want to be responsible when it comes to protecting our home planet Earth. 

Recently, I was having a drink with one of my friendly competitors, Mike Boyle, and he started telling me about an initiative he was getting involved in to make a difference in the glass industry.  I listened with genuine interest and Mike’s passion was obvious and refreshing to me since we usually talk about business. Well the connection to the glass industry and our mutual concern over global warming and its effects was immediate. He explained to me a way we all can get involved and actually make a difference within the glass industry. His company is partnering with the group Polar Bears International to save polar bears.

A Negative Chain
What does glass, or more specifically windshields, have to do with polar bears? Polar bears are some of the first animals to see the effects of global warming. Yes, without cold temperature the ice is disappearing. Polar bears need the ice to transport them and remove them from the water when hunting for food. As a result of climate changes, many are drowning and starving. 

I know you still don’t see the connection. Millions of windshields are replaced every year and many of those are needlessly replaced because of stone damages or cracks. Some shops still refuse to repair and convince the customer they need a replacement. This is not only an unscrupulous practice, but it also wastes energy. The energy needed to replace a windshield contributes to global warming needlessly. Instead of all the energy needed to manufacture the new windshield, a repair could have been done with little impact on the environment. And a repaired windshield does not fill up the landfills. 

Yes, windshield repair is green. The industry has new guidelines as to what is repairable damage; perhaps we should consider following those recommendations. 

To Your Advantage
For those who make up the repair-only industry, use Polar Bears International or similar environmentally friendly partnerships to help customers understand the additional value of your service. For repair and replacement shops, use repair to build your business in a responsible way rather than treating it as a red-haired stepchild. Explain to your customers what you are doing and why and how their choice to repair is making a small difference in our environment. There are millions of people who will do business with a “green” company because it is the right thing to do. I assure you this will not be the last you hear of this subject. 

Kerry Wanstrath is vice president and chief operating officer of Glass Technology Inc., Durango, Colo. Mr. Wanstrath’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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