Written by Natalya Stanko
|Thursday, 28 July 2011|
Washing Your Car
BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Worldwide, there are more than 400 dead zones where fish and most marine life can no longer survive due to pollution.1 By washing your car responsibly, you'll help out our fish population by not polluting their homes with harsh detergents. You'll also save water!
Cost: Medium. Both commercial car washes and waterless cleaning products cost more than cleaning with a chemical-laden detergent at home.
Time and effort: Low. Switch to a commercial car wash and you'll save time and energy.
Tips for Making Your Car Washing More Eco-Friendly:
1) Don't own a car :) If you don't have one, you won't need to wash it (or pour fossil fuels into it). All a bicycle needs is a periodical wipe-down with a rag and brush (an old toothbrush will do). But since 95% of American households own a car,2 let’s focus on what car-owners CAN do!
2) Wash the car regularly. For those who don't worry much about appearances, washing the car may seem like a waste of time, money, and water. However, in the long run, it can do good for both your wallet and the planet—washing extends the life of the car's paint and defends against rust by ridding the undercarriage of salt.3
4) Wash responsibly at home. Some disagree with the recommendation to take your car to a commercial wash. Commercial car washes are expensive, guzzle lots of electricity, and can damage your car's paint finish. Home washing provides good exercise, fills you up with Vitamin D, and can be eco-friendly if you monitor your water use and forgo harsh detergents. No wonder almost half of all Americans prefer to wash their cars in the driveway!7 So, if you choose to wash at home:
5) For the many of you out there who look to car washes as great fundraising opportunities, organize them with care! If your event generates lots of dirty run-off, you might violate federal law.11 Wash your customers' cars just like you would your own. Clean with waterless products, use water and soaps thoughtfully, or partner with a commercial car washer. Alternatively, send a strong environmental message by offering bike cleanings instead of car washes ☺
10 Coronato, Helen, Eco-Friendly Families, Penguin Group, NY, 2008; p. 169
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|Last Updated ( Friday, 02 September 2011 )|