Recycling Center

at El Dorado Mazda in McKinney, Texas

A letter from the owner.
We have made a substantial effort to do everything within our power to minimize our impact on the environment. We also believe that it is good business to do so. Through planning and management, we have made conscientious decisions that will promote a clean environment and reduce our costs.

In today's world, it would be impractical not to have an automobile. We would hope everyone would take the responsibility to minimize their impact on the environment. Many wonder if we can really make a difference. Positively, we think that we can. As knowledgeable adults, we would not want to knowingly waste money or time, and it should hold true that we should not unwittingly be disrespectful of our environment. We work with our children to teach them to stand tall and do what is right; yet as adults, we have allowed complacency to become a way of life. There are many simple things we can all do to minimize our impact on our environment. But we must act. If we do not show responsibility and leadership, then what a poor legacy we leave our children.

Time Columnists, Jeffrey Kluger and Andrea Dorfman sum it up as follows: "For starters, let's be clear about what we mean by saving the earth." The globe doesn't need to be saved by us, and we couldn't kill it if we tried. What we do need to save... and what we have done a fair job of bollixing up so far... is the earth as we like it with its climate, air, water, and bio-mass all in that destructible balance that best supports life as we have come to know it. Muck that up, and the planet will simply shake us off, as it's shaken off countless species before us. In the end, then, it is us we're trying to save and while the job is doable, it won't be easy.

The environment and economics are two powerful forces affecting all of us. Too many times, we have tried to exclude one in favor of the other. Individuals from both extremes have hurled accusations, and the results have been counter-productive. There is nothing mutually exclusive about these forces, and with our ingenuity, a genuine commitment, and leadership, we can improve our environment. Further, we realize that we must consistently strive to reduce our operational costs so that we are competitive in the market place. We are confident that we can do this and continue to pass our savings on to our customers as well as setting a new standard in the industry to be environmentally conscientious.

I love the outdoors as I am sure many of you do too. I am grateful for the environmental concerns raised in the 60's against large corporation and municipalities disposing of their wastes in our rivers, lakes and oceans. We have made some progress, but more is necessary.

At El Dorado Motors, we began with our landscape design. By using the "smartscape concept" developed by the North Texas Council of Government, plants were used that were extremely well suited for our area and were not high water consumers. A large number of the plants have the Texas A&M designation of "Earth Kind or Texas Super Star." Additionally, input on plants from the Heard Museum in McKinney was beneficial as was Neil Sperry's Classic book, Texas Gardening. As an example, Buffalo Grass will be mowed only 6-10 times annually, compared to 36 times for other types of grasses. This type of grass also requires less water and fertilizer. Further, our irrigation system complements our smartscape plan by having pressure regulated heads that maximize the water going into the green areas rather than into our automobile inventory or on the concrete. Secondly, we have started a major re-cycling program. We will try and reduce our solid waste disposal by 35% this year through re-cycling. Further, there are many products that your car will use that are essential to its performance, and if improperly disposed of, will harm our environment. This is a cost to all of us, yet is often overlooked.

We welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you and your families and will help you dispose of oil, batteries, tires, and any other related materials. We feel there is a relationship between the dealership, our customer base, and our environment. We are here to help minimize our impact on the environment and are willing to assist our customers in joining our efforts.

We salute Honda and Toyota's ingenuity in developing hybrid battery/gas vehicles. These vehicles will fill a need for a select market. There is even greater promise of the development of a hydrogen fuel cell by General Motors that would omit only water from its tail pipe. This is the leadership and ingenuity we need on the manufacturing level.

I am not sure what the future holds. We as a company do not have all the answers. We realize we have much to learn. We are committed to doing everything we can to being supportive of our environment. We will continue to expand our undertakings and are open to suggestions. Finally, it is our hope is that we will have cleaner roads, greater bio-diversity, and that we all take individual responsibility to minimize our impact to our environment in an effective manner so that our children breathe cleaner air.





According to Save a Tree, it takes one 15-20 year old tree to make enough paper for only 700 grocery bags.


We all take it for granted that every time we go shopping, a store clerk will put our purchases in a bag. But do we really need the billions of bags we use annually?


  • Plastic shopping bags are often more convenient than paper-but they're not degradable (even the biodegradable plastic bags never completely disappear-they just break up into little pieces), and all plastic is made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource.
  • Plastic bags often wind up in the ocean and kill marine animals that get tangled up in them or swallow them.
  • The ink used on plastic bags contains cadmium, a toxic heavy metal. So when printed plastic bags are incinerated, heavy metals are spewed into the air.
  • Paper Bags are reusable and biodegradable, but don't come ecologically cheap, either. Supermarket bags, for example, are always made from virgin paper-never recycled-because, manufacturers say, heavy loads require the long fibers in virgin pulp.
  • Check the printing on a supermarket shopping bag-it might say recyclable, but it wont ever say recycled.
  • Paper or plastic? Think twice before taking any bag if your purchase is small. If every American shopper took just one less bag each month, we could save hundreds of millions of bags every year.
  • Even better, bring a cloth bag when you shop. For $9, you can order a large washable canvas shopping bag with Save a TreeĀ on the side.
    Save A Tree, P.O. Box 862, Berkeley, CA 94701.
  • For grocery shopping, use string bags. They're easy to carry and fold up conveniently. You get 4 grocery sized bags for $16.95, from Seventh Generation, 10 Farrell St., Burlington, VT 05403
    *In 1987 America produced over 50 billion pounds of plastic.



Americans use 2 billion disposable batteries every year-enough to run close to a billion toys with Batteries not included.

It's hard to imagine that the little batteries you use in your flashlight, radio, or camera could have any effect on the environment at all. But household batteries contain heavy metals. The most prevalent is mercury, a highly toxic substance that has become a major source of contamination at some hazardous waste dumps. Another is cadmium.
Batteries that are thrown out with the garbage are taken to landfill sites, where they corrode and break apart, releasing mercury or cadmium into the soil. And batteries that are incinerated with garbage release dangerous mercury or cadmium into the air.


  • Prolonged exposure to mercury can not only make people extremely sick, but can even affect behavior. In the 1600's hatmakers who used mercury to treat felt and fur began acting strangely. Since no one knew that the hatters were showing the effects of mercury poisoning, it was assumed they were just crazy. Hence the expression, "mad as a hatter." And Alice's Mad Hatter.
  • About 50% of the mercury and 25% of the cadmium used in the U.S. goes into batteries.
  • An estimated 75% of all batteries used in the U.S. are the alkaline type-which are 1% mercury.
  • The average annual use of mercury in batteries exceeds the federal limits on mercury allowed in garbage by 4 times.
  • Use rechargeable batteries. Although they do contain cadmium, they last much longer than alkaline batteries-thus they contribute a little less to our hazardous waste problem.
  • If it's possible in your area, recycle alkaline batteries. Although not widely employed, the technology to extract mercury and other metals from batteries for reuse does exist. Support it by recycling. *About 40% of all battery sales are made during the Christmas Season.



When you toss out one aluminum can you waste as much energy as if you'd filled the same can half full of gasoline and poured it onto the ground?


Aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth, but it was only discovered in the 1820's. At that time it was worth $1,200 a kilogram, more than gold. According to Worldwatch Institute: "Since its first use as a toy rattle for Napoleon's son, aluminum's use has escalated. The first all-aluminum beverage can appeared in 1963, and today accounts for the largest single use of aluminum. In 1985 more than 70 billion beverage cans were used, of which almost 66 billion-or 94%-were aluminum."


  • If you throw an aluminum can out of your car window, it will still litter the Earth up to 500 years later.
  • If you throw away 2 aluminum cans, you waste more energy than is used daily by each of a billion human beings in poorer lands.
  • According to the Aluminum Association, Americans recycled 42.5 billion aluminum cans in 1988.
  • In 1988 alone, aluminum can recycling saved more than 11 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to supply the residential electric needs of New York City for six months.
  • The energy saved from one recycled aluminum can will operate a television set for three hours.
  • Recycling aluminum cuts related air pollution by 95%.
  • Making aluminum from recycled aluminum uses 90% less energy than making aluminum from scratch.
Because recycling aluminum is so profitable for manufacturing companies (they make 2$ million every day from recycling), there probably are more different ways to recycle aluminum than any other material. Check to wee which programs exist in your area:
  • Multi-material drop-off centers with separate bins for aluminum.
  • Buy-back operations with scales to weight recycled aluminum and pay consumers accordingly.
  • Large, igloo-like containers for aluminum only, often found in supermarket parking lots.
  • Curbside pickup.
  • Reverse vending machines. These machines accept aluminum cans, reject ferrous cans, glass, or other unwanted objects. They weight or count the aluminum deposited and expense money or tokens in payment.
Before You Recycle Your Aluminum:
  • Remove food, rinse, crush, and bag or box cans.
  • Remember: a lot more than cans can be recycled, including aluminum foil, pie plates, frozen food trays, window frames, and siding.
According to Recycle America's statistics: If only 250 people (including you, of course) each recycled one can a day, we would save the energy equivalent of 1,750-3,500 gallons of gasoline every year. Now try that calculation with 250,000 people; just one can a day could save the energy equivalent of between 1.75 and 3.5 million gallons of gas. And that's only .1% of the U.S. population, with a single can apiece.
If we recycle, we mine fewer raw materials. To produce one ton of aluminum from raw materials, it takes a phenomenal 8,760 pounds of bauxite and 1,020 pounds of petroleum coke. But according to Aluminum Association estimates, this figure is cut down by 95% when recycled aluminum is used. *Where does aluminum bauxite come from? *Most is imported from Guinea, Australia, and Brazil. *The largest single source of waste paper collected for recycling is corrugated boxes.


The Aluminum Association, 900 19th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006. They've got lots of info on how to recycle, how to se up fundraising events, stats, etc. Most of it's free.



There are over 140 million cars in the U.S. According to the DOT, each is driven an average of 10,000 miles annually-which means that Americans drive more than a trillion miles every year.

We all know that cars have a serious impact on the environment-but because we depend on them in our daily lives, it's unrealistic to suggest that people stop driving altogether.
Don't despair. Even if you drive every day, there's something simple you can do to help the earth: Make sure your car is running as efficiently as possible. Getting good gas mileage isn't just a matter of economics; a fuel-efficient vehicle is actually less destructive to our planet than a gas hog.


  • Autos and light trucks emit 205 of this country's fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2)-the key ingredient in the "greenhouse effect."
  • The amount of CO2 a car emits is directly related to the amount of gas it uses. Cars give off 20 lbs. of CO2 for every gallon of gas consumed. So a car that gets 18 mpg will emit a ton of CO2 every 1800 miles. By comparison, a car that gets 27 mpg will emit 2/3 of a ton-335 less-in the same distance.
  • Cars also cause acid rain by emitting 34% of the nitrogen oxide spewed out in the U.S. That's more than 7 million tons every year-a figure that can be reduced by burning less gasoline.
  • And cars emit 37% of the hydrocarbons that cause tree-killing, lung-damaging ozone smog. Again, this is directly related to the amount of fuel consumed.
  • Keep Your Car Tuned Up. It's the easiest way to make your car more fuel efficient. A well-tuned car uses up to 9% less gasoline than a poorly tuned car. That means 9% fewer toxic emissions.
  • Keep track of your gas mileage. So if there's a sudden drop, you can catch it and get the problem fixed quickly. *To keep your drain clean; put a handful of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain and cover tightly for one minute. Rinse with hot water.
  • Don't let your car idle unnecessarily. It takes less gas to start a car than it takes to let it idle. Idling becomes less efficient than restarting your car after about a minute.
  • Keep fuel filters clean. Clogged filters use more gas.
  • Stay light. Check to see whether you're hauling around unnecessary weight (we mean in your car). Surprisingly, an extra 100 pounds will decrease your fuel economy by more that 1%.
  • Check the specs. Get the latest EPA Gas Mileage Guide to check the fuel economy figures and compare specifications.
  • Keep fuel efficiency in mind. Remember: a car that gets 26.5 mpg (the standard set for 1989 cars) will emit 20 tons less CO2 in its lifetime than the average car on the road today. You can now buy cars (e.g., the Geo Metro) that get almost 55 mpg-and some prototypes (the Toyota AXU) have gotten up to 100 mpg.
  • Is an air conditioner really necessary? It's an ecological disaster. In addition to directly contributing to the greenhouse effect, and to ozone depletion by leaking CFCs, an air conditioner adds to the weight of a car-so it uses extra gas even when it's not running.
  • Weight options carefully. Optional equipment like power steering and automatic transmissions need a lot of energy to run. Other extras like electric motor-driven windows or power brakes don't use as much, but sill add to a car's weight and reduce fuel economy.
Little things help: For example, if only 100,000 car owners who'd neglected tune-ups started getting their cars tuned up regularly, some 90 million lbs. of CO2 could be kept out of the atmosphere every year. A million car owners (that’s less than 1%-remember, there are 140 million cars in the U.S. alone) could eliminate nearly a billion lbs. of CO2.

Gas Mileage Guide. Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009. This free, annual Dept. of Energy/EPA publication will tell you the gas mileage you can expect from each make and model of car. It even estimates what your gas bill will be.



In one year, traffic congestion alone wasted 3 billion gallons of gasoline-about 5% of the nation's annual gas consumption.


The growing numbers of cars on the road pose an enormous threat to the environment. Yet there are few alternatives to driving; in most areas of the U.S., mass transit is woefully inadequate.
So if you're interested in cutting back your driving, you may have to take matters into your own hands. Thus far, the best solution is carpooling.
Carpooling is especially practical if you commute to an urban area. But you can share a ride to work no matter where you live. Even carpooling 8 miles from, say, rural East Calais to Montpelier, Vermont, will save about 2,5000 auto miles per person every year.


  • One-third of all private auto mileage is racked up commuting to and from work.
  • The average commuter car carries only 1.3 riders.
  • If each commuter car carried just one more person, we'd save 600,000 gallons of gasoline a day and would prevent 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere.
  • The federal government has cut funding for mass transit by 32%-which makes carpooling even more important.
  • Find out how to connect with other commuters. There's no national clearinghouse for carpool information, but many local governments are pushing carpools and can help direct you to the right sources.
  • In some places, informal but systematic carpooling arrangements have sprung up near bus or train stops. People line up and commuters stop to full up their cars, taking advantage of special full passenger lanes on toll bridges and freeways.
  • Advertise carpooling on community bulletin boards (radio and TV stations have them as public services), or in weekly "shoppers." *Packaging Mania: About 8% of America's steel is used for packaging.



Americans use approximately a billion gallons of motor oil every year-and 350 million gallons of it winds up in the environment.

Auto manufacturers recommend that we change the oil in our cars every 6,000 miles. But they don't tell us what to do with the old oil. It's become an important issue; used motor oil is perhaps the worst oil for the environment, because it's not just oil-while it's flowing though your engine, it picks up all kinds of extra toxins.


  • Some experts estimate that 40% of the pollution in America's waterways is from used crankcase oil. About 2.1 million tons of the stuff finds its way into our rivers and streams every year.
  • When used motor oil is poured into the ground, it can seep into the groundwater and contaminate drinking water supplies. A single quart of motor oil and pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water.
  • Pouring oil into the sewer (or onto the street, where it will eventually wash into the sewer) is like pouring it directly into a stream or a river. And just one pint of used motor oil can create a poisonous oil slick an acre in diameter.
  • Tossing oil into the trash is essentially the same thing as pouring it out. The oil will be dumped in a landfill, where it will eventually seep into the ground.
If you get your oil changed at a gas station:
  • Check first to make sure they plan to recycle it. If not, take your car somewhere where they do.
If you change oil yourself (and about 50% of American Drivers do), recycle it:
  • Most communities have gas stations or oil-changing outlets that recycle their oil and will accept yours for a small fee, ranging from 25 cents to $1 a quart. It costs, because they have to pay someone to pick it up. Call around to find one close to you.
  • To make the whole process easier, you can invest in a do-it-yourself oil recycling kit. These come with containers that double as oil-draining receptacles and carrying cases for transporting the oil to a recycling center. We know of two of them on the market: the "Pac-Lube Oil Changer," made by Pacific Landings, Ltd., and the "Oil Change Recycling Kit" by the Scott Paper Co. If your local automotive store doesn't have them, contact the companies directly at the addresses listed below.
  • Most recycled oil is reprocessed and sold as fuel for ships and industrial boilers. The rest, according to our source, is processed into lubricating and industrial oils.
  • Another source adds that there is a future in re-refining it into motor oil. A new technology, created by Evergreen Oil of San Francisco, can turn a gallon of used motor oil into 2.5 quarts of new oil. Compare that to the 42 (yes, 42!) gallons of virgin oil it takes to make the same 2.5 quarts. "Imagine," says one expert "-If America refined the billion gallons of motor oil we use every year, we would save 1.3 million barrels of oil every day. That's half the daily output of the Alaska Pipeline!" It takes 1/2 a gallon of water to cook a pot of macaroni and a gallon to wash the pot. *Just one part oil per million parts water will make drinking water smell and taste funny.



Native plants need only about half as much water as imported varieties.


Xeriscape (from the Greek word Xeros, meaning dry) is a modern approach to landscaping which has become popular due to water shortages. Some years ago, experts realized that much of the water used in residential planting went to plants that were not suited for the regions in which they were being grown. Test done with equally attractive native varieties showed that is was possible to save as much as 54% of the water, keep plants healthier, and improve soil conditions. Xeriscape is not only practical; it's eminently satisfying-because you'll wind up with an aesthetically pleasing yard that's also ecologically sound.


  • Drought-resistant plants aren't just limited to cacti and succulents. They include hundreds of species of colorful flowers, flowering shrubs, vines and ground covers that provide beautiful alternatives to traditional landscapes. For instance, jasmine, bougainvillea, wisteria, sweet alyssum and daffodil are all low-water use plants.
  • There are many low-maintenance grasses, too. In Texas, for instance, where water can be scarce, the standard Bluegrass needs to be watered every four days. Buffalo grass, better adapted to the climate, requires water only every 2-3 weeks.
  • We're not suggesting you go out, rip up your front lawn, and instantly replace it with cactus. We are suggesting you take a new look at landscaping your home. Some of the principles of Xerescape-drip irrigation, heavy mulching of planting beds, organic soil improvements to allow for better water absorption and retention-are applicable to any garden design.
  • Contact a local horticulture society or nursery to learn more. *Growing wildflowers and herbs will provide food for beneficial insects.
The Texas Water Development Board, P.O. Box 13231, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711.


An acre of lawn needs more than 27,000 gallons of water every week. But Americans use even more than that; we routinely over water our lawns by 20 to 40%.


Lawn care isn't something you normally associate with saving the Earth. But when you consider that there are an estimated 20 million acres of lawn-and some 600 trillion grass plants-in the U.S., you can see the impact that watering, fertilizing, and mowing them might have.
If you have a lawn, it's worthwhile to learn a few environmentally sound ways of taking care of it.


  • Set your mower blades high. Don't be a victim of "golf course syndrome." Many Americans believe a healthy lawn looks like a manicured golf course; but the opposite is true. For most types of grass, the proper length is 2" to 3" high. This encourages longer, healthier roots, and provides natural shade for the ground around each plant-which enables it to retain moisture in the soil.
  • Keep mower blades sharp. Dull blades tear grass (instead of cleanly cutting it), weakening the plants, and making them more susceptible to weeds and disease.
  • "Cut it high and let it lie." During dry periods, leave grass cuttings on the lawn. This works well if you keep grass long and cut small amounts each time. Cuttings will serve as moisture-retentive mulch and a natural fertilizer.
  • At other times, use grass clippings and other lawn and garden waste to make a compost pile. It will provide your garden with natural mulch and fertilizer-and help reduce contributions to your local landfill.
  • Most established lawns need about 1" of water a week, applied slowly to prevent runoff. This is considerably more effective than shorter, more frequent sprinklings.
  • How can you tell if it's an inch? Put 3 cans around the area you're sprinkling, at varying distances from the sprinkler. Check them every five minutes to see how long it takes for an inch of water to accumulate in each. Add the 3 times together, and divide by 3 to get an average. That's how long to water.
  • Due to outdoor watering, water use in America increases by as much as 30% in the summer months.
  • Water from sprinklers evaporates 4-8 times faster during the heat of the day than in the early morning. Watering at night is better than midday-there's no evaporation problem-but it can cause fungus in the grass plants. Best choice: water in the morning.
  • In a drought, don't waste water on grass beginning to turn brown. It's dormant and will revive after normal rainfall begins again.
  • Homeowners use up to 10 times more toxic chemicals per acre than farmers.
  • The average homeowner uses 5 to 10 pounds per lawn-for a national total of some 25 to 50 million pounds! Many scientist believe these chemicals endanger the songbird population (by contaminating the worms they eat), as well as polluting groundwater.
  • A green, healthy lawn is possible without chemical pesticides.
  • If every lawn owner composted grass clippings, we could cut the landfill congestion by a whopping 18% during summer and spring.
  • Avoiding over watering can save about 12% of a homeowner's water use during the summer-an average of over 50 gallons are saved.
  • If even 10% of lawn owners began using organic pesticides, it would remove 2.5 to 5 million pounds of toxic chemicals from the environment every year. *Artificial color is added to the feed of commercial, egg-laying hens to color their yolks.
The Chemical-Free Lawn, by Warren Schultz (Rodale Press, 1989). *1/3 of the paper mills in the U.S. use waste paper exclusively.


scroll up