News, Updates and Information

Green initiatives all about son, auto recycler says

Greg Woodbeck has just one reason for taking his company in a greener direction.

“It’s strictly because I have a son of my own,” Woodbeck, who with father Bruce owns Woodbeck Auto Parts, said Monday.
The company has long had an environmentally-friendly approach, and this spring joined for two new programs.

Green Parts is a program of the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association that encourages reusing quality parts to reduce both landfill waste and the need for making new parts.

Retire Your Ride is a team effort by the federal government, the Clean Air Foundation, and several partners. Together they aim to get 1995-model vehicles and older models — the highways’ worst polluters — off the road.

Woodbeck said he needed to look no further than his son when deciding to enter the programs and work toward a greener planet.

“I want the world to be just as good for him as it was for me. I know it sounds a little cliché but it’s the truth,” he said.
“I personally don’t view it as though there needs to be another reason. Everybody knows the world’s resources are exhaustible, so why don’t we recycle them?”

Through various programs, the Woodbecks must adhere to a variety of strict rules governing disposal of auto components, fluids, tires and more.

“It’s a variable that we as an automotive recycling facility can control, and if we can bring on more people to do it, even better,” Woodbeck said.

Lisa Tait of the Clean Air Foundation is program director of Retire Your Ride, which has yet to be launched officially but is already making progress.

“Although we haven’t done anything official we already have about 1,500 cars scrapped across the country.”

Of the 113 Canadian auto recyclers involved to date, 81 are in Ontario.

“The recyclers over the last few months have been pretty excited to be involved,” Tait said. “We’re signing on new people every day … literally.”

Retire Your Ride offers incentives for owners of older vehicles to turn them in to recyclers. The Ontario incentive is $300 cash; other provinces have deals on transit passes, bicycles, car-sharing memberships, and other vehicles.

Tait said more incentives for Ontarians are in the works.

She and Woodbeck said the feel-good factor is the main motivator for drivers and recyclers to get involved.

Owners getting rid of their old vehicles can get some cash and know the car will no longer be a polluter and will be recycled in an environmentally-sound manner, she said.

“They actually contribute to most of the pollution on our roadways,” she said, saying a car built in 1995 or earlier may produce 19 times more smog than a car built for example in 2004.

Tait said Environment Canada as part of the program is also developing a code of practice for recyclers.
“This is a step forward for the auto recycling industry,” she said.

Woodbeck, meanwhile, said the company will continue to improve its environmentally-responsible methods. Under Green Parts, he said, the business must maintain a green standard and is expected to improve its practices with each year.

Being greener does not yet appear to have resulted in new business for his company, Woodbeck said, but more people are willing to use Earth-friendly options.

“We like to think that they come to us for good products and the fact we’re doing the right thing environmentally.”

That, he said, makes the extra labour involved worthwhile.

For more information: Retire Your
Ride: www.retireyourride.caor 1-877-773-1996.
Green Parts: www.oara.comor 1-800-390-8743.