City honors businesses for environmental efforts

Four businesses have been honored with 2014 Minneapolis Green Business Awards for pollution-reduction programs, including three based in southwest Minneapolis.

Mulroy’s Body Shop, 3920 Nicollet Ave. S., was described as the “poster child for an unassuming Minnesota green business” in a report presented to the City Council’s Health, Environment & Community Engagement Committee today. Mulroy’s has made lighting upgrades to improve energy efficiency at the body shop, installed solar panels on the roof and uses a waterborne paint system — a more environmentally friendly way to touch up cars.

Paramount Auto Body/Master Collision, 224 W. Lake St., has also been honored for switching to a waterborne paint application, reducing the shop’s use of paints with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) by nearly 90 percent. The compounds contribute to ground-level ozone, also known as smog. In the report presented to the Council committee, Paul Oberstar, owner of Paramount, was credited with “helping to clear the air in Minneapolis in a way that consequently improves the service time of his business.” 

Mark Wold of Martinizing Dry Cleaners, 5559 Xerxes Ave. S., was recognized for eliminating the use of  perchloroethylene (known as perc) in the dry-cleaning process. The hazardous chemical has been identified as a probable cancer causing agent by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Dan Nelson of University Auto, 1625 Como Ave. SE, was honored for switching to a lead-free weight balancing system. Wheel weights are used to balance tires. They are attached to wheel rims, but often come loose, fall off and end up being washed into storm sewers or winding up in landfills. Nelson has also switched to LED lighting, which has dramatically reduced his energy costs.  

Martinizing Dry Cleaners, Paramount Collision Center and University Center helped pay for the changes to their businesses practices with help from the city’s Green Business Matching Grant Program, which offers $30,000 to dry cleaners that switch to clean solvents from perc and $20,000 to auto body shops that move away from toxic products.