Once upon a time, when green was a color and not a global movement, the idea of an environmentally sustainable maintenance and repair shop would have been astonishing, especially to the technicians working in those service bays. Today, there are dozens of resources available on the subject of how to make vehicle maintenance cleaner, greener and more efficient in the bargain.

In California, for example, the San Francisco Dept. of the Environment and the Sustainable Earth Initiative, with funding support from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, produced a 45-page “Clean Fleets Toolkit” in 2009 with specific steps maintenance facilities can take to reduce waste and help prevent pollution, along with notes about real-world successes.

The toolkit outlines a three-step process:

  1. Identify products and equipment that have the potential to be recycled or replaced with a cleaner alternative.

  2. Develop a green maintenance shop policy to get employees onboard.

  3. Start with the products or equipment that will be the easiest or most economical to recycle or replace.