Baby Boomers are not the only thing aging in America. Our cars are getting older and creakier too. It’s estimated that half of the vehicles on the roads today are more than 12 years old and that the number of older cars, more than 16 years old, will have increase by 20 percent within five years. That’s some 81 million cars that will ultimately need repairs.
Due to the increase in the amount of older cars, the number of auto repair shops is also growing to an estimated 120,000 nationwide. While repair shops are not considered major polluters compared to other sectors, they still are awash in hazardous waste, such as used oil, battery acids, solvents and spray paint.
Vehicle repair establishments are bound by strict federal and local regulations for waste disposal and pollution mitigation. The problem is that many shops are small, privately owned businesses. Even, national chains are often franchised, with the owner having just one establishment. These mom and pop shops can be overwhelmed by multiple regulations and sometimes confusing directives.
Recently, the city of Washington, D.C.’s, Department of Energy & Environment launched a program called GreenWrench designed to help the more than 30 small auto repair shops in the city manage pollution and waste. Watch how it’s improved conditions in one shop and gave the owner momentum to keep his operation as clean as possible.