Julián Arroyo is committed to changing the link with the environment. His father is a plumber and helped him create a rainwater collection system and the necessary filters to reuse it. He is evaluating opening Eco Wash franchises and projects new eco-friendly ventures.
To clean a car, up to 500 liters of water are used. An average car wash washes at least 100 vehicles per day, that is, it uses 50,000 liters every 24 hours. Seeing how such an essential resource is wasted was what motivated Julián Arroyo to create Eco Wash, the first sustainable car wash in the country.
In 2021, Julián was presented with the possibility of opening a car wash inside a sports complex in the port of Mar del Plata. Until that moment he had not discovered how to make it sustainable, but he did when intense rain filled the open pits in the ground while they were building the floor: create a rainwater collection system.
Shortly after, he felt that he had to go one step further to be truly sustainable and asked his father, a plumber, to help him also design the filtering system to reuse it.
“You don’t need to bring a filter from NASA to be able to recover the water, nor do you need US$50,000 to start a business. Putting a little desire, head and, above all, a lot of sacrifice, you can do a business
The young entrepreneur is convinced that in Argentina “there are great opportunities for sustainable businesses, so that the under 40s start investing.”
With the conviction of caring for the environment
Julián is 26 years old and lives in Mar del Plata. His first job was at a car wash company, where he worked for 10 years. “I was always struck by the number of liters of water that was thrown away. When I left I wanted to start a business on my own and the possibility arose of building a car wash from scratch and I decided to make it sustainable”.
It was then that he turned to his father who helped him design the rainwater collection and filtering system. “My dad is a plumber and we began to find a way around him, to investigate. We spent a month making plans. When we made them we didn’t know if they were going to work and as we went along we refined the idea”, he said.
The work began in August 2021 and on December 13 the laundry was already in operation. The most difficult thing was to get the staff, because, he says, “the field is highly stigmatized.” “It is thought that it is for people without education or without resources and in reality it is not; it is a question of the company adapting to provide better conditions to be able to offer a comfortable job and in good conditions”, he assured. Today, mothers and fathers of families and university students work at Eco Wash.
How does the system work
In addition to the water collection and filtering systems, Eco Wash began to stock up on environmentally friendly soaps, which dissolve in a week. “As the water pits collect 7,000 liters, they have time to turn around, then the soap dissolves. But in addition, we put a thinner on it,” he explained.
In total, they have two rainwater collection pits, which they use directly in the laundry. The liquid used is recovered in other pits in which settlers are placed, there it is filtered and the sand and earth remain at the bottom, thanks to a pump that works by level.
Then, the water goes into 200-liter tanks filled with stones and sand that filter it and then store it in two 2,000-liter tanks, which are used as storage. The cycle starts over when it is used again in the pressure washer.
How much does a sustainable car wash service cost?
In Mar del Plata, a basic car wash costs from $1,500, at Eco Wash they charge $2,300, but it has the added bonus of knowing that the water is being reused. “We are not aiming to wash 100 cars a day, as any car wash does, but we are aiming for people to have a different and good quality service,” said Julián.
According to him, he said, for now what motivates the people of Mar del Plata to go to his place is not so much the awareness of caring for the environment, but the quality of the service, but he trusts that the youngest will choose them for both reasons.
“It’s part of a long process, that those of us 40 years old and below have to do, to start applying these techniques and change our minds, so that young boys can grow up with it. Older people have no conscience, but those between 25 and 35 years old like the idea, they even spread, share, recommend, ”he said.
Franchises and more sustainable projects
The next step that Julián wants to take is to dive into the world of franchises and he already has interested investors. “Water recycling is already working and we already have a fixed clientele, the second stage is to create a platform to manage shifts, and then a network of car washes, in which we provide support, human resources and the service system. water recovery, as if they were franchises”, he anticipated.
At the moment everything is under evaluation, he doesn’t want to “launch early”, but what he is convinced of is that he is not afraid that they will replicate his idea. In fact, part of his environmental awareness has to do with that.
“I also think that, hand in hand with politics, they should begin to make certain changes to favor young people who are entrepreneurs and who want to put these types of solutions into practice,” he added.
He is thinking of closing a deal with an importer of electric motorcycles and scooters. “I started with a laundry room, but I have a lot of projects in mind that go hand in hand with sustainability. I am a distributor of a tire brand and the issue of tires is an ecological problem, and I am planning to find a final disposal for them, such as the recycling of rubber to be used in concrete”.
If he has to summarize the success of Eco Wash, Julián likes to attribute it to the “dedication” and “sacrifice” of those who accompanied him on this path “to move the business forward”.