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Going Green

    In todays' world we are always hearing about "going green", however, the term means different things to different people, and its meaning varies widely in different industries. As time has moved on, the scientific community aren't buying into global warming as a man made anomily, but rather a naturally occuring earth cycle, which has happened in the past. Having said that, outright poluting is wrong, and can be summed up best by a quote from Samuel. L. Jackson, " don't shit where you eat" .
    To the motorcyclist, being green should be a part of our sport, and no, I'm not going all David Suzuki on you. How many times have you been trail riding only to find a place, in an otherwise pristine forrest, where someone had dumped garbage, broke glass, ect? Take it a step further and add a flat tire to the equasion, because of some lazy moron. The moral here is to pack your trash, leave nothing behind. If you catch someone dumping, take a lisence plate number and make the appropriate telephone call.
    Then we get to the shop, which could be anything from a shed in the back yard, to a professional shop. If you are working on your motorcycle to any degree, there will be chemicals and hard parts that need to be dealt with. These items include waste oil, waste gasoline, coolant, brake fluid, tires, batteries, metals, plastics, and misc items. The proper way of dealing with this stuff is to recycle it. With waste oil you have a couple of options available including:
* Take it to any garage as they will have a waste oil tank which when full gets refined.
* Many people are making use of waste oil burining furnaces and will gladly take your waste oil provided there is nothing else mixed in with it. For them it's free fuel.
* Take it to your local landfill, in an oil container, and drop it off in the appropriate area.
It's also important make note of the importance of containing waste oil. The last thing you need is any kind of spill, so keep it in an oil container, a red gas can, or a yellow diesel can, as these are designed to hold petroleum product. If you make use of old windsheild washer containers or plastic pop bottles, you are looking for trouble. One teaspoon of oil if dropped into a river, will contaminate it for miles. When oil is spilled into the ground it pollutes down to the clay level. Cleaning it up requires excavating the effected area down to that level, and is very costly. Being complacent and stock piling waste oil is also very dangerous as it's a fire hazard.
    With brake fluid, coolant, and gasoline your best bet is to take it to your local landfill and drop it off in the appropriate area, but make sure it is clearly labeled as to what it is if not in it's original container.
    With tires and batteries there are a few choices. When you buy new tires you pay a tire levy, which is meant to pay for the recycling of old tires, so all you need to do is turn in the old tires where you bought the new ones. Same for batteries, many companies will take the old one when buying a new one. Most scrap metal dealers will also take them, and pay you up to $5.00 each for them.
    With metals, you only need to visit your local scrap metal dealer, and they will pay you a fee with will vary depending on the tonnage and they type of metal. For small items, you could drop them in a recycle bin "blue box" in your communiity. Plastics are also a "blue box" item. 
    The old addage, "everything has it's place in the shop", not only applies to tools and equipment, but should also apply to the above items, It makes for a safe, clean place to work on your motorcycle, ensures the items get properly recycled, and you might get a few dollars back for your efforts.
    Another aspect of being green has to deal with the consumption of power in your shop. Using the new long life, pigtail light bulbs will provide you excellent lighting, long life, and less power useage, although the initial cost will be higher than normal light bulbs. Only use the electrically powered tools and lights you need, rather than turning everything on. Heating is another part of this which will be determined by what type of building you are using. If it's an existing building then you need to do some research into what type of heating appliance will give you the heat required, and will fit into your space, but will cost the least amount of dollars to operate. With a new building you have choices that cannot be incorporated into existing structures and you need to research what best fits into your plan. In both scenarios, there are choices which will save you money in the long run, are environmentally friendly, but will likely have a higher  initial cost than conventional heating appliances.
    Tooling is another thing to consider and depends on your personal needs. Many people make use of pneumatic tools, but these require a suitable air compressor, which takes electricity to run. On the other hand, the equivalent tools can be purchased in electric only, so you need to make the choice that best suits your needs. Cordless tools are also available, but I personally find then useless for working on mechanical things..they just don't have the power nor the duration to do that type of work. Being more conscious of power useage will keep money in your pocket, and reduces the demand on the grid, which is environmentally friendly.