Mobile mechanics tend to be either mobile service units operating from a central depot or small owner-operated businesses. All mobile mechanics must have access to a garage base to meet waste tracking and disposal requirements.
Issues of particular concern include:
- the storage and disposal of waste oil, oily wastewater, brake fluid, coolant and other liquids
- the disposal of vehicle parts
- the spillage of oils and other liquids when carrying out general servicing and repair work.
Tips for giving your business a cleaner and greener edge
As a mobile mechanic your activities must meet the same regulations and environmental obligations that fixed mechanic workshops have to meet.
Keep your knowledge of environmental protection laws up-to-date by regularly visiting What's new in law.
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To minimise the risk of pollution you should carry:
- A spill kit for emergencies - This should contain absorbent material (e.g. sand or Kitty Litter) to soak up spilt oil and other liquids. Spent absorbent material should then be placed in a bag and disposed of correctly (e.g. to landfill, or placed in a garbage bin). The kit also needs to contain bunds, plus absorbent pillows and sausages to soak up and divert spills.
- Wastewater storage container - water used to clean greasy hands and equipment should be collected and disposed into a waste oil separator unit.
- Waste liquid collection containers - all waste liquids including brake fluids, radiator coolants, etc. should be collected in separate containers and disposed of at a licensed trade waste collection centre.
- Oil filter collection container - filters must be drained and disposed of via a filter recycler. Never put oil filters in a domestic garbage bin.
- Waste tracking system - the disposal of some wastes and waste liquids must be tracked, including oil, transmission fluid, batteries, oil and fuel filters and cleaning solvents. This means you must be able to provide evidence of proper disposal. Contact the DECC Environment Line on 131 555 for further information.
- Impervious ground sheet - an impervious ground sheet should be placed under the vehicle to protect the ground against accidental spillage. An added bonus is that it gives you a clean surface to work on.
- Drip trays - should always be used when working on the radiator, brakes and oil systems.
- A properly equipped garage base - every mobile mechanic should have a properly equipped garage base where you degrease engines, wastewater, oil filters and other parts.
- Keep your van tidy - keeping your mobile unit clean and tidy will reduce the risk of a spill or accident. Ensure all liquids are stowed securely. Used parts such as oil filters should be stored in containers.
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To give your business a greener, cleaner image you should also carry:
- A work mat - this is placed under the vehicle being serviced in case of an accidental spill and to catch any minor drips and spills. Pop-up edges contain any spills.
- Spill-proof oil tray - even if you drop or knock the tray the oil cannot be spilled.
- Spill-proof fluid container - these are designed so that even when they are knocked liquid cannot be spilled.
What to avoid
Some activities have a high environmental risk and are best carried out in a garage including:
- engine reconditioning involving the removal of the engine and transmission
- extensive work to the differential and other major running gear items
- degreasing, cleaning or steam cleaning an engine or engine bay; and
- spray painting: spot touch-ups using a brush are acceptable, but vehicles should never be spray painted in the open air. Undertaking this activity other than in an approved spray painting booth may result in a fine.
- dispose of parts or oil into the domestic garbage system.
- allow anything to flow into the stormwater drain or gutter. Stormwater drains empty directly into our rivers and the ocean without treatment.
Page last updated: 27 February 2011