[Editor's Note: Care about this topic? BCLC is hosting a working meeting on environmental innovation on July 18, 2012.]
Ohio’s largest oil-change provider has shown that “green” can work for businesses even in unexpected industries. Lube Stop, a Green Plus-certified company, has designed and trademarked the EcoGuard Oil Change, a process that greatly reduces the environmental footprint of car oil-changes. The cornerstone of Lube Stop’s EcoGuard innovation is the use of locally-sourced re-refined motor oil, which helps create a closed cycle of oil production and use that promotes recycling and responsible waste management.
“Our industry is really the ‘Netflix’ of the automotive care market, ‘leasing’ oil to customers who use it then return for a new fill,” Tom Morley, Lube Stop’s President, said in an email.
By using re-refined motor oil, Lube Stop decreases the amount of energy required to produce the oil it uses while helping to prevent environmental contamination. Re-refined oil is waste oil that has been collected and reprocessed. Re-refined oil, which functions just as well as virgin oil, requires only one-third of the energy required to refine crude oil. By creating a demand for recycled motor oil, Lube Stop also helps prevent waste oil from polluting the environment. Improperly disposed oil can do significant damage to water sources: the oil from one car can pollute up to 1,000,000 gallons of drinking water.
The use of re-refined oil also decreases the need to purchase, import, and transport crude oil while supporting local re-refining operations. Lube Stop sources its re-refined oil from the Columbus-based company Lyden Oil. Lyden Oil supplies its re-refined oil in bulk shipments, greatly reducing the number of plastic bottles used and discarded. This has significantly decreased the amount of waste Lube Stop disposes of in landfills.
By offering customers an environmentally-friendly option that costs only $2 more than a standard oil change, EcoGuard now accounts for roughly half of Lube Stop’s $30,000 monthly oil change revenue. EcoGuard is one part of Lube Stop’s larger sustainability program, which aims to minimize the company’s environmental impact while working to support and improve local communities. This program includes efforts to decrease waste, conserve energy, support other local businesses, improve employee satisfaction, and raise money for community charities.
[This post was originally published on BCLC and Green Plus's Environmental Help Desk]