Mark Brown owns and operates Brown’s Auto Salvage located in Bomoseen, Vermont. The company is a model for how to do at least two things at once: attend to the needs of building a successful auto salvage business AND operating in a manner that respects and protects the environment. At the dismantling shop where salvageable parts are reclaimed and the vehicle is prepared for crushing; oil, antifreeze, gasoline, and other fluids are drained and, where possible, stored for reuse. Much of the oil is used to heat the shop, the antifreeze is given away to quarry operators and loggers to be used in their equipment, and gasoline reuse has accounted for more than 5,000 gallons last year alone. Inexpensive red plastic caps are used to plug hoses and drains before bringing the vehicle to the crusher. Refrigerants, which pose a threat to the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, are removed from vehicles using certified equipment, and lead wheel weights and mercury switches commonly found in hoods and trunks are removed to avoid accidental release to the environment.
By dismantling and salvaging reusable mechanical parts and removing fluids indoors Brown extends the useable life of vehicle parts and prevents potential releases of contaminants to the environment. Special dismantling trays were built for each of the four dismantlers to capture any fluids dripping from a vehicle while it is being disassembled. This minimizes indoor spills of oil and ensures each drop of usable fluid goes to reuse.
As a service to his community, Brown accepts any vehicle from nearby residents without charge. Mark Brown serves the larger community of salvage yard operators by sharing with them the environmentally sound practices he uses in his business. As he puts it himself, he’s eager to prove that: “We’re not the problem; we are the solution to processing the more than 30,000 end-of-life vehicles in Vermont every year.”