Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mother's going GREEN Day 52 - The Car Wash

My car is probably one of the not so clean cars on the road. I honestly do not have time to wash it and quite honestly have better things to do. But when it gets really dirty and dusty - when it is tempting to write on it with your finger "please wash me" then I head of to the drive through car wash. (okay - so not as dirty as in this picture)

Today, was the day I headed for the car wash and as we were going through it the thought occurred to me that this might not be the best environmentally friendly way to wash my car. As soon as I had a spare moment I was going to investigate this and here is what I found:
I figured washing the car by hand would be the most environmentally friendly way to go - since most of the time to be 'green' one needs to go 'old school' but as it turns out that washing our cars in our driveways is one of the most environmentally un-friendly chores we can do around the house. Unlike household waste water that enters sewers or septic systems and undergoes treatment before it is discharged into the environment. Which means that the water from washing your car in the driveway goes right into storm drains -- and eventually into rivers, streams, creeks and wetlands where it poisons aquatic life and wreaks other ecosystem havoc.

The water from out washed car includes the following harmful ingredients: gasoline, oil and residues from exhaust fumes; not to mention the detergents used in wasting the car, unless of course you are using an environmentally friendly detergent but even so it has the other chemicals I have just listed.

However federal laws in both the U.S. and Canada require commercial carwash facilities to drain their wastewater into sewer systems, so it gets treated before it is discharged back into the great outdoors. And commercial car washes use computer controlled systems and high-pressure nozzles and pumps that minimize water usage. Many also recycle and re-use the rinse water.

The International Carwash Association, goes on to say that automatic car washes use less than half the water of even the most careful home car washer. According to one report, washing a car at home typically uses between 80 and 140 gallons of water, while a commercial car wash averages less than 45 gallons per car.

For more info on this topic you can visit the following sites:

Needless to say I was thrilled about my findings - taking my car to the commercial car wash was in deed the green thing to do.

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