Opinion Piece: Clean Cruising (Street Commodores Editorial Columns)

12 Jul

This is the seventh in a regular series of editorial pieces we’ll be posting here on the blog, originally written by Hosking Industries’ Ben Hosking for Street Commodores magazine and other magazines he’s completed opinion pieces for. This column appeared in issue 173 of Street Commodores:

Clean Cruising (Written May 26, 2010)

There’s never been a better time to start thinking and acting greener and there are tons of ways to make your hobby better for the environment.

The modified car scene is a sprawling, expansive group of individuals. Car lovers live in every type of community and in every suburb in Australia. We spend millions on car care and performance products each year and travel about as many kilometres in our hopped-up dailies and weekend weapons. Surely, the impact we have on our environment is significant. However, there are many ways in which we can all lessen our impact on our world – from small things, to big.

Even without spending a lot of time thinking about this, I’ve been able to list over a dozen different things that will help reduce your footprint; whether it is your carbon footprint or the impact you make through your use of hydrocarbons or resources like paper, oil, power and other non-biodegradable chemicals.

The best part is that many of these things won’t require any additional outlay of cash. Often, it’s just a matter of choosing a different product when heading to your local parts store, or making a once off spend on a few additional parts. Check them out and see if you can implement any around your home shed or even come up with some of your own.


Carbon Offsets

Perhaps the biggest single thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to offset the emissions of your vehicle/s. There are a number of not-for-profit companies around that plant trees on behalf of private citizens and businesses, such as Greenfleet – the one Street Commodores donates to, to offset the emissions from Cruise for Charity.



From the simple things like turning the shed lights off each time you walk out to powering the shed with solar panels; there are a number of ways to reduce your power consumption that will actually save you money in the long run. Look around your shed and take stock of all the things that use power. A few solar panels can be mounted to the roof of your shed, storing power into car batteries: environmentally sound and saves you cash!


LPG, E10 and E85 Fuel

Despite the government’s latest tax slug to LPG, it still represents an excellent performance fuel choice with a higher octane rating that most conventional pump fuel options. So, you can have your cake and eat it too! A more environmentally sound fuel source AND better performance.

While the benefits of E10 could be seen as negligible and there’s the whole argument about the use of food for fuel; E10 and E85 do represent what is considered to be an environmentally friendly alternative to 100% petroleum-based fuels. When E85 becomes more widely available and you’ve undertaken the appropriate fuel system and tuning mods; you can do good for the earth and make more power.


Non-Propellant Sprays

Next time you’re out buying window cleaner, interior cleaner, tyre shine or any other kind of spray; how about looking toward a trigger pack in place of the traditional pressure pack alternatives? They don’t use any propellant, which is better for the environment and probably for you, too! Also take an extra second and see if the packaging is recyclable.


Waterless Car Wash

This is one most of us should be pretty familiar with these days, with most of the country having experienced water restrictions to one level or another over the last few years. Most car care companies produce waterless alternatives now, including Meguiar’s; who’ve got a range of excellent products available. Reducing your water usage is just as important as reducing your emissions these days.


Almost Water-free Car Wash

If wiping your car down without suds really makes your skin crawl, think about buying a big bucket or 60L plastic bin and plumbing a tap at the bottom. Grab a pressure sprayer; fill the bin with water and you’ll generally get the whole car done before you run out – using less water than normal AND usually meeting restriction guidelines.


Wash Your Rags

Hopefully you make use of old clothes, undies and the like around your shed as rags. If not that, then you buy bags of washed, used rags in bags from places like Bunnings. You can get greater bang for your buck AND create less waste by washing any rags that aren’t completely soaked in oil. If you don’t think your mum or missus will spew at you for putting it in the wash, then you’ll generally be fine.


Recycled Paper Towel

Paper towel is an excellent thing to have in your shed. But why use virgin pulp? Always looks for a recycled alternative when you’re out shopping and make sure you put the used stuff in the recycling bin when you’re done.


Rainwater Collection

There’s no reason why you can’t use rainwater to wash your car, assuming you’re got a filter on your collection point to prevent nasty grit and leaves. All hardware stores stock a range of products to make collecting the rain water from your roof a breeze. Perhaps you can fill your tapped 60L car-washing garbage bin, killing two birds with one stone? Any excess can be used for watering the gardens and lawns.


Used Batteries

You should never simply dump your old car batteries – no matter how tempting. Thanks to initiatives like www.recyclemybattery.com.au, it’s never been easier to hand your old car batteries in for proper disposal and recycling. Did you know they’re 98% recyclable?


Used Oil and Waste Fluids

Same thing goes for your waste fluids such as oil, trans’ fluid, fuels, paints and other noxious chemicals. Don’t just throw them in the bin and NEVER be tempted to pour them down the drain – EVER. Your local council is the place to call to find out about used oil collections, meaning you can be sure they’ll be dealt with responsibly.

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