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Greener Automotive Center

When Dean Schwartz became a partner in Lloyd’s Tire Service in Santa Cruz he knew what he didn’t want the business to become: an auto shop that customers would see as “dirty, bad, you know, kind of a gross place.”

“I didn’t want to be one of those businesses,” says Schwartz. “I wanted to be one that was green, and did the right thing and recycled, and (people would) see a nice clean shop.”

Customers in this coastal city have noticed. Lloyd’s sells up to 100 tires daily while doing oil changes and brake jobs. Its leading-edge practices make the 71-year-old shop one of California’s newest officially designated “Green Businesses.” Statewide, 2,600 businesses – from hotels to printing firms to manufacturers – have earned green certification.

“Santa Cruz is very green-oriented,” says Schwartz. “And it’s just an extra thing to draw customers in. Plus it’s great for the environment, so why not?

Lloyd’s Tire received special status by conserving energy and water while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and use of toxic products. Schwartz and business partner Larry Johnson certified the accomplishments by teaming with the City of Santa Cruz’s Green Business Program. Santa Cruz is a member of the California Green Business Network. Network members in 15 counties work with the Department of Toxic Substances Control to help small businesses translate green practices into cash savings and good business.

Employees at Lloyd’s change all automotive fluids inside their building. They avoid chlorinated cleansers. They “dry sweep” oil and fluid spills. Lloyd’s also sends used tires to a local recycler. It turns the rubber into surfaces for school playgrounds.

“We used to have another company that used to take the tires to Fresno. I think they ended up in Mexico,” he said.

Lloyd’s switched light bulbs to more energy-efficient T-8 fluorescents. Employees use buckets instead of hoses to wash equipment. They re-use office paper.

“That’s great for us, for lowering our garbage to the landfill,” says Schwartz. “A two-yard dumpster compared to a one-yard dumpster is like $80 a month in savings.”

Cathlin Atchison, who heads the city’s Green Business Program, says the checklist of conditions to become a “Green Business” can appearing overwhelming.

“But we are there every step of the way to help them make sure they are meeting the measures and getting them the help they need to get it processed.”

The result is a green logo that attracts attention and business. Schwartz loves the sound of a customer saying, “You’re green.”

“It’s always good to hear that. It’s reassuring,” he says.

See the “Tires, Oil and Brakes Go Green? video (video script).

Santa Cruz customers like green approach to tire and brake jobs


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