Our car doesn’t seem to understand the Clean Bin Project. It is trying to thwart our clean bins with broken auto parts and old engine oil. Well, at least the latter can be recycled. But buying new parts in almost unavoidable.
Now, before you all go into shock, yes it’s true. We have a car. Actually, our household has (gasp) two cars. Rhyannon has one and Grant and I have one. (we haven’t been roommates that long, otherwise we’d probably all share).
Nobody drives to the office or to the local grocery store or anything excessive like that, but we do use them on the weekends. I’m not trying to justify it, I’m just being honest. We like to go snowboarding. In the backcountry. A lot. And you need a reliable, preferably 4 wheel drive vehicle to get there.
Renting tiny city cars for ski trips was getting silly and dangerous. Plus, with Grant doing filming all over the place, it’s impractical to try to cart video equipment via public transit. But still, I feel guilty telling people I own a vehicle. And even more so because it isn’t a hybrid or a biodiesel, it’s an all-wheel drive. I can’t have one of those “one less car” stickers on my bicycle; I need a sticker that says “I left my car at home today on purpose”.
But the point is that we’re trying not to buy stuff or throw stuff away, and, to be honest, the car is all about stuff. Checking stuff, maintaining stuff, buying new stuff to replace the old, rusty stuff. You can’t get secondhand brake pads for a car (can you?), and that’s where we’re at. We apparently needed new front brakes and rotors.
I know it’s transportation based, so it is technically ok to buy new auto parts according to the rules, but it still feels wrong.
So imagine my surprise when I went to pick the car up this morning, and my friendly mechanic, Steve, informed me that they recycle old rotors and even brake pads to the scrap metal guy. We wouldn’t have to cart them home to our own recycling bins after all. Actually, when Steve heard about the Clean Bin Project, he went on to tell me all about how their office has starting recycling all papers and plastics in addition to the government mandated fluids like engine oil, which was really great to hear.
So my bin can remain car-part free for now, but I still have to write the new auto parts on the “stuff I bought” list which now reads “dishwashing soap, brakes and rotors”. Still ok for 4 months worth of purchasing.
On a side note, I know there are lots of eco-bloggers out there (like here and here) who do still have cars, but there seem to be more (like here and here) who have sworn off them. So I have a question. Do you just do your normal car repairs, or do you spend weeks sourcing used parts? Do you drive a new, fuel-efficient vehicle, or a re-used clunker? And if you have given up your car, did that change your lifestyle? Do you find yourself getting out of the city less? I mean, transit and bikes are great in the city, and we use them all the time, but for some reason, despite our waste-free household, we can’t seem to get out of the habit of being chained to the weekend convenience of our comfy, warm, four-wheel, fossil fuel burning automobile.