By Steve Pollock
CAYUGA, IN… For the past couple of years Speedco, the nation’s largest chain of truck lube centers, has been implementing ways to go green into their business model. The effort has been spearheaded by Jason Evans, Director of Risk, Environmental and Safety and Michael Clarey, Regional Manager, former Manager of Purchasing. Jason and Mike studied ways to lower Speedco’s environmental impact and also took into account suggestions from employees. They found a surprising number of changes to make that have made an amazing reduction in a waste stream that ordinarily would be destined for landfills. According to Speedco, “Being green is good business. It’s good for our environment and allows us an opportunity to pass savings on to our customers as a result of these practices.”
We all know that new energy efficiency bulbs will save electricity, however, by installing high efficiency light fixtures in conjunction with high efficient bulbs and using high efficiency rotary screw air compressors, Speedco saved 2.4 million kilowatts of electricity. Performing oil changes all day requires a lot of paper towels for technicians by switching to reusable towels in the past 4.5 years Speedco has eliminated 80,620 cubic feet of landfill space along with 630,000 pounds of waste.
With input from Speedco employees, Mike designed a Fuel Caddy designed to drain the fuel from used fuel filters then recycling it, filtering it through a two micron filter and then treating the fuel so it can be used to re-prime new fuel filters. The result – 55,000 gallons of diesel fuel recycled annually. Speedco also recovers and recycles 3 million gallons of oil each year that can be used for asphalt, fuel and base-stock oil.
The company also maintains in-house oil/water separators, dramatically reducing the amount of contaminants in their waste water, which must be reclaimed. When the shop floor is cleaned, scrubbers with vacuums are used to hold contaminates instead of purging them into the floor drains. The floor scrubbers are used to vacuum and retain wash water outside on their entrance and exit aprons to keep the wash water from going into storm drains.
Last year alone Speedco recycled 1,206,400 filters or 10,508 tons, one of the few companies in the Country that pays to have used oil filters recycled – as opposed to sending them to a landfill. They also returned over 5,000 tire casings to retread dealers for recapping and collected 48 tons of scrap tires for recycling. Speedco is in the process of going lead free on tire weights; using zinc coated steel weights and recycling the discarded lead weights.
Pumping 8 million gallons of oil annually puts a lot of hours on the pumps that move the oil. Since they started rebuilding their pumps instead of replacing them, Speedco has cut 8.5 tons of scrap metal that would have been discarded, as well as the installation of 600 new oil pumps. Each work station at Speedco has a Spill Kit with absorbent booms, pillows and pads to soak up the oil in the event of a spill. By using the cellulose dust created by the manufacturing of fiberboard from sister company Firestone Building Products, Speedco has recycled a material that would otherwise be discarded and is now used in their Spill Kits to absorb the oil. Since starting a cardboard recycling initiative, Speedco now recycles 9 tons of cardboard each week.
With the enormous quantities of oil handled by Speedco each year it is imperative that the company handle products responsibly and at the same time have safeguards in place in case of a spill. Oil delivery trucks pull inside the facility to discharge their load. All piping is run on the outside of interior walls so any leak will be easily detected. The oil is stored in heavy-duty tanks that are strong and durable and the oil never comes in contact with the outside environment. When the Joplin, Missouri Speedco was destroyed in the 2011 tornado, the oil tanks were left intact other than some water contamination inside the tanks that occurred when the roof was torn off the building. The storage rooms that hold the oil tanks are sealed and have a containment wall that is tall enough to hold the entire oil capacity of the tanks. Every Speedco facility itself is a certified secondary containment system. The building is designed so that in the event of a large spill the oil will run to the center of the facility where it will collect. When Speedco built their 27th location in Corning, California, a new technology became available which has been incorporated into the remaining half of Speedco’s facilities. The technology is a large fiberglass lining that is installed in the building’s foundation and work tunnels, serving as a containment area in the event of a large oil spill. The liner is large enough to hold the entire oil capacity at the facility.
Speedco is proud to be a responsible corporate citizen, offering their customers E-Lube, the environmentally friendly lube and oil change. The company is continually looking for better ways of doing things, especially when it comes to environmental issues. In a business that deals with consumable products, Speedco understands the importance of handling and recycling products such as engine oil in a safe and responsible manner. They are pleased to be able to implement other environmental initiatives that will also help to reduce the company’s environmental impact.
To learn more about Speedco and their green initiatives, log onto www.speedco.com.