Greening garages

How maintenance shops are deriving savings and benefits from becoming environmentally responsible


Implementing a dry shop spill cleanup method that recycles spilled wastes.

Performing environmental awareness and pollution prevention training.

Recycling office paper.

Adjusting shop design, procedures and management practices.

Selecting less hazardous and toxic products.

Using refillable spray bottles instead of disposable aerosol cans.

Maintaining an electronic database of vehicle service and pollution prevention products and services,

Making no discharges to sanitary sewer systems

Performing regular maintenance on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Using an industrial launderer for shop towels.

Another practical tool Trapani developed was the Self-Audit Environmental Compliance Checklist. “We use this as a guide to find numerous opportunities through incremental environmental improvements as a basis for continuing progress for all our shops statewide,” he says.

Each shop completes the comprehensive checklist twice a year. It is reviewed by Trapani who then meets individually with each shop supervisor to discuss the results, assist with any emerging issues and go over a list of improvement areas and recommendations to reduce any environmental impacts associated with shop operations.

Another of his initiatives was creation of the annual Environmental Green Shop Award. Designed to improve and encourage better environmental performance in all ADOT shops, the honor “recognizes the shops that are best at environmental compliance and protecting and enhancing the environment.”

Averitt Express, Cookeville, TN — A provider of freight transportation and supply chain management, its shops are using low-viscosity lubricants and engine oils which lower the frequency of maintenance service intervals, therefore producing fewer waste products, says Christopher Asberry, the company’s communications coordinator.

The shops are also capturing 100 percent of the Freon when servicing vehicle A/C units and recycling accordingly; recycling all used oil and oil filters; recovering and reusing antifreeze whenever possible; using only non-hazardous waste parts cleaners; using salvaged/remanufactured parts whenever possible; recycling all scrap metal created from in-house vehicle maintenance and body work; and eliminating aerosols by purchasing bulk chemicals.

“Being ‘green’ is sometimes simply a byproduct of working to be more efficient and or cost-effective, which Averitt has always tried to do in its shops,” Asberry says. “We really started focusing on being green, though, when we became a charter member of the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership in 2004. Since then, we’ve made environmental sustainability a top priority in everything we do.”

The SmartWay program’s goals are to reduce the impact of freight transport on the environment and to help EPA partners see the rewards to their business.

B-Line Lube Centers, Odessa, TX — With three shops in Texas that service more 150 Class 8 trucks each day, the company works to reduce its environmental footprint through a variety of measures, says owner Craig Freeman. Among other things, it uses waste oil to heat its shops, turns shop lights off during the day, recycles filters and oil, stores all invoices electronically, sends paperless statements via e-mail and accepts all forms of electronic payment. It is a registered waste oil collection site for do-it-yourself oil changes.

“The shops are designed specifically to do maintenance which allows us to contain most of the mess rather than have to clean it up off the floor with solvents and soaps which would then be washed into the drain,” he says.

The company is starting to replace lighting with much more efficient LED lamps that Freeman expects will cut electrical consumption by as much as 75 percent at a cost that will amortize in about 5 years.

Blaine Brothers, Minneapolis, MN — This provider of parts, service and towing to the transportation industry has found that “a big part of going green is using the latest technology to improve business operations,” says Michael Gray, controller. “There are economic benefits that go along with many of the environmental benefits.”

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