How We’re Reducing Waste at Spiffy

posted 21 April, 2022 by Jackson Balling
Spiffy Green

Being an eco-conscious company is ingrained in our DNA, from Spiffy Green™ to our tire recycling partnership with PRTI. And as we’ve expanded our in-house engineering and manufacturing efforts with new projects, like Smart Tumbler, our focus on sustainability grew along with them. 

Now, we’re managing to reduce waste beyond used water or oil with the help of some new initiatives and local partners.


One significant component of how we're reducing waste is through e-cycling, or the practice of reusing electronic equipment or components instead of just tossing them in the trash to end up in a landfill. Most of the time, e-cycling is focused on repurposing used devices, like computers or cell phones, which are distributed to libraries, schools, and non-profit organizations like the National Network to End Domestic Violence, which partnered with Verizon to distribute refurbished phones to domestic violence victims.

Here in Durham, NC, we’ve partnered with Ecycling4Good - a coalition of local nonprofits helping to address electronic waste and climate change on a local level. The organization spun off from Triangle Ecycling, which facilitates free community recycling services to repurpose computers for good. Computers and other electronics are tested, wiped, and refurbished as a part of an educational program that prepares local public high school students for jobs in Information Technology.

All revenue from reselling these refurbished electronics is split with other Durham-based nonprofits, such as Keep Durham Beautiful, Don’t Waste Durham, and the Ellerbee Creek Watershed Association.

In addition to donating our used computers, we’ve been able to work with Ecycling4Good to recycle materials from our Smart Tumbler products. These materials range from parts we can’t use, like batteries or broken components, to entire units that have been rejected during the quality assurance process. In the latter case, each rejected unit is broken down, usable parts are salvaged, and the remaining parts are taken to the e-cycling center, which sorts everything for proper disposal.


Minimizing Plastics

Not only are we properly e-cycling materials from Smart Tumblers, but we’re also continuing to refine our product design and manufacturing process to minimize the plastic used in each device.

“We’re constantly trying to figure out how we can tweak certain parts to reduce the material usage. Obviously, that saves us a bit of money from lowered manufacturing costs, and on the environmental side, it cuts down on the plastics were creating,” said Zach Fearnside, Technical Product Manager. “So far, we’ve adjusted the threads of the [Smart Tumbler] lid and streamlined the product so that there isn’t unnecessary thickness.”

According to Zach, the extensive process to redesign Smart Tumbler before our public launch cut down on plastic material by at least 33%. As a company focused on continuous improvement, our goal is to cut out as much unnecessary material use as possible to minimize our company’s dependency on plastics and overall impact on the environment.

Upfitting Vans

The final area where we’re minimizing waste is with our blue Spiffy vans. With supply shortages crippling vehicle manufacturers, we’ve been forced to get creative with how we’re expanding our fleet in new and existing cities and for franchise owners. While we may have had vehicle make and model preferences in the past, we’ve modified our upfit process to handle many new configurations - including the latest 2022 model years, older models from the past five years, and complete retro-fits of older vans.

With so many different models comes the extra work of upfitting design specifically for each, including equipment installation and the blue van wrappings with our recognizable penguin logo. Despite the extra effort needed, our modification efforts have continued to grow to meet the demands of our ever-expanding business.

“We’ve upfit 40+ vans so far this year and increased our upfit capacity to 20 per month,” said Connor Finnegan, VP Strategy. “Our plan is to continue scaling that up to 30 per month as we grow our existing markets and enter new markets with both corporate and franchise operations.”

As you can see, our efforts to minimize the waste we’re responsible for as a company extends further beyond our origins in car wash and detail. If you’re interested in learning more about our sustainability efforts, check out


Posted in Spiffy Green

Written by Jackson Balling

Jackson was Spiffy’s Content Marketing Manager from January 2019 to July 2022 and freelances for us now. Jackson brought over five years of professional experience in creative copywriting, audio production, and video editing to the Spiffy Marketing team.
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