Tips and Tricks for Shop Disposal and Recycling
A lot of shops may think of “getting rid of things” in terms of trash rather than recycling, but we’re here to tell you that there may be more that can be recycled than you think, either through your shop or an outside source. A lot of shops might not care about “being green” but we’re willing to bet that almost everyone cares about time and money, so that’s how we’re going to focus things here. There are a few common items that almost every shop has to deal with so those will be the ones that will start with.
Oil and Transmission Fluid
One of the most common shop waste involves oil, either in the form of engine oil or transmission fluid. Even if the vehicle isn’t in for a transmission fluid or oil change there can be other problems such as blown head gaskets that will involve draining the oil. There can also be fuel in the oil, or any other number of contaminants. When it comes to these types of oils they can usually be separated into contaminated and non contaminated. A lot of times contaminated oil must be picked up by a disposal service, and in this case it is usually stored in a large drum and a small fee is added to the customer’s bill in the form of a disposal fee.
If the oil or transmission fluid is relatively uncontaminated, we’ve seen a variety of interesting uses for this type of fuel. The key word here is “fuel” as that oil can be used to run a number of items including generators, shop heaters, or even off road non-emissions vehicles like Farm vehicles. You could put this type of oil in your regular diesel pickup of course, but it’s probably not worth the fine if you get caught running it on the street.
Tires and Batteries
Unless you’re tight with a local used tire shop, tires are one of the harder things to recycle in any type of meaningful form. Sure you can put old tires on wagons or use them as tire swings, but a busy shop might have hundreds of tires a year, and more often than not these tires are simply taken away and disposed of buy a tire shop. Again, the fee here is passed along to the customer in the forearm usually a $3 to $8 fee a tire.
Batteries are another item that is in the category of tires. It’s tough to actually recycle these, so parts stores usually do it for the shop. Instead of a core charge,they get the old battery, and will usually drop off a new one. The tough part here is not letting batteries sit around the shop and instead putting them up on the truck. Walk around every week or so to see if there’s any miscellaneous batteries tires or other parts they need to be disposed of before week’s end.
Cleaner and Aerosol Cans
Often times shops will just use brake cleaner or starting fluid to clean off parts right on the spot while they are working on something rather than run over to a designated cleaning area. While this can save time, and also creates a tremendous amount of waste and cost in the form of used up aerosol cans.
Fortunately there is definitely a recycling solution for this problem, and it’s a money saver also. One solution is a portable parts washer. Many shops have parts washers, but they are usually big and bulky. Almost all mechanics have portable tool boxes right next to their work space, and a quick search showed that there are also “toolbox” parts washers that can be used and the same area is where the vehicle is being worked on. This saves a walk across the shop just to clean something off for a few seconds. The cleaning fluid itself can also be varied, we know of one shop that’s wedged from Blake brake cleaner to mass air flow sensor cleaner that was then pressurized with air. Not only was this cheaper, it’s saved on waste too.
It’s virtually impossible to run a shop without creating waste, that’s just a part of doing business. That doesn’t mean you can’t recycle some of that waste to and save time and money, and it probably doesn’t hurt the environment any either!