Arizona auto shops join environmentally-friendly initiative - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Business

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Posted: Sunday, June 29, 2008 11:00 pm

Individuals nationwide are making the effort to go green.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is embracing the trend with a statewide Green Shop program, which recognizes environmentally responsible automobile shops.

The ADEQ in partnership with the Automotive Service Association, the American Automobile Association of Arizona and the city of Mesa have certified nearly 25 Arizona auto repair shops for the ADEQ's Green Shop program, which is a part of the Arizona Green Business program.

Created by ADEQ's Pollution Prevention Program, this environmentally-friendly initiative requires auto shops to adapt common industry practices by using low-hazard cleaners, recycling waste fluids like oil and anti-freeze, and installing energy-efficient lighting in work spaces, among other green criteria.

"As part of the application process for recognition as a Green Shop, businesses must implement enough of the pollution prevention measures suggested in the program checklist to accumulate a minimum of 300 points. After the appropriate steps have been taken, we send a field representative out to do a physical inspection of the facility," said Luz Rubio, executive director of the Automotive Service Association of Arizona.

Most qualifications are adopted from the Environmental Protection Agency's policies, and include simple adjustments like changing to biodegradable cleaning products, reducing the number of times a floor is mopped or even monitoring bulk supply orders to avoid wasting inventory, she added.

The Automotive Service Association also requires that the shops have written policies and procedures on how clean-up is handled.

"We want to see that shops are not only implementing procedures but that they also have written policies on how clean-up and other daily practices are handled," Rubio said. "The public should know that the automotive industry is not the same ‘grease monkey' industry it has been known to be."

The program is gaining interest in many Arizona cities, but the progress of the green shop program in Phoenix is not as popular compared to the volume of green shops in other cities like Tucson.

"The initiative has gone over well in Tucson, but not as well in Phoenix. There just seems to be a lot more awareness in Tucson," said Mark Shaffer, director of communications for ADEQ.

The program distinguishes 15 Tucson shops as Green Shops, while only two in Phoenix are currently recognized by the program.

For net-owner and manager of 25 Street Automotive of Phoenix, Bill Coniam, the application process for the Green Shop program "was a no-brainer."

"It has been a core of our business model to hold ourselves to higher standards," Coniam said. "The Green Shop program was a perfect fit for us, since we already had many of the program policies in use at our shop."

The Arizona Green Business Program is a voluntary program that gives automotive service facilities an opportunity to promote an environmentally-friendly approach to car repair.

Green automotive shops set high standards for pollution prevention and resource conservation - standards for other industries to follow.

Automotive facilities that receive the Arizona Green Business certification can display a sign with the Green Business logo, showing customers that they are doing their part to help the environment.

For more information on the ADEQ's Green Business program, visit www.azdeq.gov or http://www.asaaz.org">www.asaaz.org.

 

Stephanie Riel is interning this summer at the AFN. She is a senior at Arizona State University.

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