Gordon Trucking Inc. (GTI), Clackamas, Ore.,
has been singled out as the 2008 Top Green Shop winner in a contest sponsored by Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Fleet Equipment magazine. Kirk Altrichter, GTI’s vice president of maintenance, says, “Being environmentally friendly has always been a major focus of GTI’s for several reasons. Being ‘green’ is important to our customers, our owners and it is the right thing to do.” Beyond those reasons, he says they have found financial benefits to recycling and proper disposal of shop waste.
Getting started . . .“When I first took on my current position at GTI,” says Altrichter, “we focused on ways to eliminate hazardous waste in compliance with government regulations and in ways that were in GTI’s best interest. We started to make changes in what equipment was used and how we used it, and quickly went from a medium quantity waste generator to a small quantity waste generator. During that time, we also reduced our vendors from fourteen to one. We now work exclusively with one partner, Safety-Kleen. Safety-Kleen does most of our recycling and supplies some of our clean-up products. Safety-Kleen has made suggestions to us, and we have listened. In the process, we have reduced waste in ways that we may not have thought of on our own.”
Extending oil drains . . . It’s a balancing act; however, you need to figure out what changes are cost effective and which may cost more. One of the changes GTI initiated started with a two-year test evaluation to see if it could extend oil drain intervals on its vehicles. At the end of the test, GTI found by switching to the Donaldson Endurance filter, which has chemical additives that help keep soot particles in suspension, helped them move their 36,000-mile oil drain and filter change interval out to 72,000 miles. Altrichter is quick to point out that the fleet still does its other PMs at 18,000-mile intervals. But by doubling the miles between oil drains, the company has seen significant reduction in waste and cost.
Shop personnel . . . Going green has, of course, meant some additional training of shop personnel. The fleet had good practices to begin with, but revisions were made –– some retraining occurred and Safety-Kleen and other partners were available to help. Other than some small improvement to the shop facility, and some new paving, no other changes needed to be made.
Altrichter notes that one technician’s suggestion, which was simply to re-use fuel-filter fuel rather than dispose of it, provided a cost savings. The fuel-filter fuel is collected in a 55-gal. drum, filtered and reused in vehicles. “At $4 per gal. for diesel, it was well worth doing,” he says, “plus it was reusing a substance that otherwise would have entered the waste stream.” In addition, GTI used to pay to have waste oil hauled away; now it gets paid for the waste oil.
Recycling tires . . . GTI recycles its casings as retreads. Altrichter says, “We are constantly evaluating tire tread patterns and casings and working to reduce the number of tires that need to be recycled. We keep casings and retread them for up to seven years. After that point, they are sold or recycled.”
SmartWay Partnership . . . GTI has been an EPA SmartWay partner since 2004 and last year won the 2008 SmartWay Excellence award.
Separate cost centers . . . All of the GTI maintenance shops are separate cost centers and function like a privately owned company. They do share best practices and the same procedures, but each shop has a different set of objectives, state laws and their own budgets. The Clackamas shop secured the Top Green Shop Grand Prize award and you will note that two other GTI shops took the third- and fourth-place prizes.
The winning entry
Gordon Trucking Inc. of Clackamas, Ore., won the Citgo Top Green Shop award through the following achievements:
• The shop staff have a long history of using environmentally friendly practices.
• The fleet has been active in EPA SmartWay since 2004.
• The shop embraces new technology to reduce waste stream contributions.
• In 2008 the shop reduced oil usage and waste oil by 27,000 gallons using new filter technology –– that also reduced filter usage and waste by 4,000 filters.
• The fleet trains drivers how to get the most out of the engine with the least amount of fuel.
• The fleet has active suggestion and active recycling programs: Oil and antifreeze are sold to reputable recyclers. Oil filters are crushed and recycled. Fuel is saved from each fuel filter or fuel-water separator change, then filtered and placed back in the fleet fuel tank. Non-contaminated antifreeze is filtered and returned to the radiator.
• The parts washer is a complete recycling system that cleans dirty solvent to “like new” and generates only about one cup of waste every three months.
• Brake clean and penetrating oil are dispensed by reusable “Sure-Shot” (air pressurized) dispensers, which eliminates aerosol cans.
• All steel and aluminum are recycled.
• All cardboard is recycled.
• All acid and alkaline batteries are recycled.
• The old heating system was replaced with infrared heaters with a 25% increased efficiency.
Additional honors go to . . .
The Citgo Top Green Shop winners include:
Second Place – City of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Ind., recognized for its comprehensive spill prevention and containment practices, extensive recycling of filters and other by-products, its use of EPA-approved parts washer with solvent recycling, and other environmentally sensitive initiatives to create and maintain a green shop.
Third Place – Gordon Truck Inc., Medford, Ore., recognized for its extensive green shop initiatives in recycling, cutting energy use and reducing waste.
Fourth Place – Gordon Truck Inc., Pacific, Wash., recognized for its green shop initiatives in reusing filtered solvents and oil products and reducing overall waste.