Oahu auto body shops go green

Published: Jul. 22, 2009 at 9:34 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 23, 2009 at 1:53 PM HST
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Van Takemoto
Van Takemoto

By Kristine Uyeno - bio | email

WAIPIO (KHNL) - Four, auto body shops on Oahu are now doing their part, to help the environment.

For more than 20 years, they've been friendly competitors in the industry: Roland Kuroda of Kuroda Autobody, Van Takemoto of Island Fender, Eddie Okahara of Oka's Auto Body and Dwayne Nasu of Acme Fender. Now, they've formed a new partnership.

"We just thought it was a good time to start it," said Takemoto.

They're the first in Hawaii to switch from the traditional, solvent-based paints of the past, to the latest, water-based paints.

"You know we all care about our environment. We care about our employees. It's much more safer being in a booth with water solvent than vapor," said Takemoto.

Automotive paint uses solvent for thinning, which releases volatile organic compound into the air. But waterborne coatings use water as the primary solvent, reducing these type of emissions. In North America, waterborne paint is only required in California and Canada for its environmental benefits.

"It shines just as long, it's as durable to chemicals as any OEM finish, original finish to your car," said Takemoto.

The shop owners retrofitted their booths to adjust to the new type of paint and they spend a little more for each job. But those added costs, aren't passed onto their customers.

"We all felt it was the right thing to do," said Takemoto.

Providing a smooth finish for customers and a clean environment for Hawaii.