Eco Car Wash Opens Flagship Green Facility in Williston

The Williston Observer reported this week that Eco Car Wash company owners Aaron Vincelette and David Soons have opened their new flagship facility off Route 2A near James Brown Drive (right by Agway). This place was four years in the making–take a look:

Eco Car Wash exterior

As you probably know, one of the dangers with a business like this is “greenwashing”–that is, adopting a couple of seemingly environmentally-friendly practices while running a deeply unsustainable business and calling it “green.” “Eco-friendly” products have proliferated in recent years that range from questionable to downright horrible in terms of environmental impact. Is Eco Car Wash one of them, or is it a truly sustainable approach to washing cars? From the evidence I’ve seen, this appears to be the real deal.

If the biggest environmental impacts of a car wash are water, energy, construction, and the gas people expend to drive there, Eco Car Wash seems to be a win on all four fronts. They gather rain and snow and process their water on site, relieving the municipal water system of a potentially large impact; their transparent design and high-efficiency equipment minimize electrical use; their building is constructed from recycled and reclaimed materials; and their location is on the commute and errand path of many Williston and Essex residents.

Vincelette and Soons own and operate Eco Car Wash facilities in Milton and Plattsburgh, but the Williston facility is the most ambitious and sustainable car wash they’ve established.

Eco Car Wash interior

Car washes range from $8-$21. Eco Car Wash also offers detailing, gift cards, and a fleet program. This makes its pricing about average for the industry (for in-tunnel washes) despite the ecological advantages, according to

It makes sense that their prices should be normal even though they have presumably spent much more than the usual amount on constructing the facility, because their energy and water management practices should save them a bundle over time. While a car wash is an unusually obvious example for this kind of practice, it’s an approach virtually any business can take to be more profitable, as demonstrated by the massive energy retrofit done at the Empire State Building a few years ago: see Empire State Building’s Energy Savings Beat Forecast.

If I sound like an advertisement for this business, you’ll have to pardon me: it’s rare that I see a business that takes sustainability to these lengths. I haven’t been to the place already; if you have, leave a comment and let us know what you think of it.

Art from Trash: Creative Reuse Showcase

News from The Chittenden Solid Waste District:

Breakfast at Tape-anys by Sarina Cannizzaro

18th Annual CSWD Creative Reuse Art Showcase

The CSWD Creative Reuse Showcase is an art competition for Chittenden County students in grades 9 through 12. The purpose of the Showcase is to encourage students and the community in general to reduce waste by reconsidering what we consume and discard. Creative Reuse Showcase art is made from items and materials that have been used for their original purpose and then discarded either as landfill-bound trash or as recycling.

By entering, students compete for hundreds of dollars in cash and prizes from local sponsors. They may also earn a spot in a month-long exhibit of the Showcase at Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Gallery in Burlington.

See the Showcase:

March 7: Showcase art exhibit opening at Frog Hollow. 85 Church St., Burlington, during First Friday Art Walk.

March 27 Closing Awards Bash at Frog Hollow. 6-7 pm (Awards at 6:30 pm)

More information at

The High Environmental Cost of Plastic Bags

Here are some reasons for us all as residents, organizations, and businesses to consider reducing our use of plastic and plastic bags.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers: $4 billion)

  • Only 1%-3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
  • Industry figures show 90% of all grocery bags are plastic.
  • Plastic bags are made of polyethylene, which is a petroleum product, and their production contributes to air pollution and energy consumption.
  • It takes 1,000 years for polyethylene bags to break down.
  • The amount of petroleum used to make 1 plastic bag would drive a car about 11 meters.
  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate soil and waterways. They then enter the foodweb when animals accidently ingest them.
  • 86% of all known species of sea turtles have had reported problems of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris.
  • Approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die each year by ingesting plastic bags. These poor animals suffer a painful death. The plastic wraps around their intestines, or they choke to death.
  • Less than 5% of US shoppers use canvas, cotton, or mesh bags. Please change that number by choosing reusable bags when you shop.

plastic spoon