Environmental issues are at the forefront of everyone’s attention these days, and we’ve been taking a very active approach in our day to day business at reducing our impact as much as possible.
We are paying close attention to the ways in which we can minimize our environmental footprint by staying on top of the services and technologies available in our region using them to our best advantage. As a result, we have been able to make a substantial difference in reducing the elements in our waste stream to our lowest levels to ever, and we will continue to seek out new ways to further lower our impact as they become available.
Recycling paper, cardboard and plastics:
All of our paper, cardboard and plastic is placed in a mixed recyclables bin. The use of such a bin has dramatically reduced our waste removal expenses and the amount of actual garbage we produce to a very small amount. At present we’re filling one regular household-sized garbage can about every two to three weeks – this is less than many households, and much less than similar businesses in our area.
Recycling oils, solvents, engine coolants and greases keeps them out of the waste stream:
We also have contractors in place who collect and recycle our used lubricating oils, oil filters and engine coolants. Contaminated (oily) plastics are collected by government certified contractors. These containers are then processed at regional facilities where they are cleaned of contaminants and properly recycled. Batteries, ferrous and non-ferrous metals and other related items are removed by local collections companies who safely handle these items for recycling or disposal.
In some cases, where engine coolants are deemed to be in good condition, we collect and re-process the coolant on-site and return it to service. The used coolant is first passed through particulate and carbon filtration, then an additive package is incorporated back into the coolant to replace the corrosion inhibition and other required properties before being put back into service. This process not only saves money, but reduces the amount coolant we need to send away to commercial re-processors.
Minimal environmental impact cleaning systems for vehicle parts:
Starting in 2011 we started our moving entirely away from volatile solvent based parts washing systems, and we are now using bio-remediating water- based parts washing solutions such as our ChemFree SmartWasher. This system dramatically reduces our VOC emissions and eliminates the generation of liquid hazardous wastes that would have otherwise been produced from using VOC emitting solvents. These waste solutions do cost a fair bit more to use, but provide us with better air quality in the shop and our surrounding environment.
Also in 2011 we have put in to place our water-based Jet Wash style parts washing machine. Think of a giant dishwasher for vehicle parts, that constantly recycles its hot cleaning solution to degrease and remove dirt from vehicle parts. This again has helped us dramatically reduce our solvent loads in the shop and what we put in to the waste stream for reprocessing.
Saving electricity and heating costs:
We have been slowly replacing our old and out-dated T12 HO, T12 and incandescent lighting fixtures with lower consumption and higher light output T5, T3 fluorescent fittings and, where possible, LED fixtures.
In the fall of 2015 we replaced our front sign lighting that used dual T12 High Output tubes with low consumption single tube T5 fixtures and tubes. This retrofit alone dropped our sign lighting consumption a whopping 75% with more than adequate light output for our needs. This step further reduced our electrical demands and it will take less than one calendar year to pay for the fittings and installation costs by electrical savings alone.
We are regularly looking for new and effective means to further reducing the waste that leaves our business and enters the waste stream. As new technologies emerge, we will do our best to put them into place as they become available in our area.