WHAT'S AN ORGANIC MECHANIC?
What's an "Organic Mechanic"?
A popular question due to the seemingly contradictory nature of the two words, most folks consider automotive repair to be a hopelessly dirty business. We disagree. We believe change requires effort. We believe that effort can be positive no matter how insignificant it may seem. It is in that spirit that we develop shop policy to improve upon standard clean-up procedures and waste stream management issues that face the automotive repair industry. A collection of small personal efforts can add up to a significant improvement to the shop as a whole and, in turn, a collection of small individual shops can add up to a sizeable benefit to the industry as a whole. Being green is a process, not a destination.
So what are some of the items from the ever expanding list efforts?
- We have our used oil filters recycled. Until October 2008, North Carolina Law allowed used oil filters and the oil they contain to be disposed of in the regular trash, thus ending up in the landfill. Five years before disposal restrictions were mandated, The Organic Mechanic began contracting with a company that takes the filters, squeezes them to recover the residual oil and then shreds the steel to be recycled.
- We do not use absorbents. A clay type absorbent is often used in shops to soak up spilled oil. This oil soaked "kitty litter" is then often disposed of in the trash. Instead we take extra measures to avoid spills. When one does happen, we use professionally laundered shop rags and wet dry vacuums to recapture the spill for recycling.
- We use re-refined motor oil. Motor oil does not break down under normal use, it becomes dirty. Our "house brand "oil (used when a vehicle doesn't require specific oil) is used oil that has been put through the same refining process as virgin oil. We contract with a national company that collects our used oil, breaks it back down into its base oils and then builds it back up into new product. Then, we buy it back. A closed loop!
- We use a water based, bio-remediation parts washer. Rather than using a regular mineral spirits parts cleaner, we use a water based solvent that contains oil eating bacteria. Rather than wash off oil and then have to dispose of it, the bacteria break the long carbon chains of the oil leaving only carbon-dioxide and water as a byproduct. It's healthier for our staff and the environment!
- We recycle. All of those little bits and big bits for your car come in a box. We generate a large amount of paper and cardboard that we recycle along with all of the plastic, steel and glass we collect. Our front office only uses 100% recycled paper in the printers and we are increasing efforts to go completely "paperless".
- We have a strong commitment to local economy. We try to use local small businesses for our office and production needs. We also do cooperative advertising to help strengthen our neighbors.
- We pay a living wage to our employees and provide health insurance. We believe in providing the best work environment for our employees and provide equal opportunity regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. We expect our employees to conform to this same code of ethics.