In an industry so environmentally sensitive, the car wash sector must prove that it is leading the way in the drive to regulate itself. To this end, the Car Wash Association (CWA) launched the ’WashMark’ accreditation scheme at IFFE, to reassure motorists that every car wash whether automatic or hand is fully insured, registered with the authorities, uses safe methods and chemicals, has correct drainage in place with fully trained staff and is safe for both the car and the environment. A number of major petrol retailers as well as most of the leading manufacturers and operators of car washes in this country are now members of the CWA.


From next month onwards WashMark accreditation signs will be rolling out. The CWA is putting considerable effort into ensuring consumers are aware of the scheme and that only accredited sites are promoted. The CWA takes its role in promoting WashMark-eligible operators seriously. It is only by employing strict self-regulation that the CWA believes the industry will avoid additional environmental regulation being imposed on it. Operators of both automatic and hand car washes are welcomed into the WashMark scheme, provided they comply with its regulations, in particular those relating to chemical use, drainage and pollution control.


The CWA was recently informed by the Environment Agency that pollution legislation regarding disposal of trade effluent has been tightened. Inspectors will now have the power to impose on-the-spot fines for non-compliant sites. Accordingly, the CWA is working with DEFRA, local councils and other stakeholders to assist the whole industry in ’cleaning up’ its act so that the public can be assured that all members displaying the WashMark comply with effluent regulation in particular.


The CWA has now employed a technical manager and an administrator to advise members about WashMark. It has also been working with a number of retailers who have allowed unregulated hand car washing to take place in their car parks. It is confident once they become aware of the environmental damage that non-compliant car wash practices can cause to their brand and green credentials, that they will rectify any problems, and seek a ’WashMark’ accreditation for all operators on their sites.