They are proud to be a vehicle-free Vineyard household: instead of using a car to get around the Island, Rebekah Blu and her husband Adam Thibodeau — owners of the Midnight Mermaid gallery in Edgartown — bike, walk and take the Vineyard Transportation Authority. So when regular summer visitor Deidre Moncy and her boyfriend Dennis Mount approached the couple wanting to use the gallery to host a fundraiser for the the Clean Planet Fund’s auto program, they thought they were just the right people to do it.
“It seemed like the perfect fit because this is an issue that’s of great importance to my husband and myself,” said Ms. Blu.
Ms. Moncy and Mr. Mount started the Clean Planet Fund this year with the aim of developing green technologies and bringing them to consumers. The auto program’s goal is to use money from corporate sponsors and fundraisers to buy solvent recycling machines, called Always Clean machines, and donate one to every auto body shop in America
“Socially, there is a big demand for doing the right thing, and that’s what the Clean Planet Fund is facilitating,” said Mr. Mount, who created the Always Clean with the help of two engineers. Using the machines would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and help to decrease the nation’s dependency on oil.
“We’re honored here at the Midnight Mermaid to have the opportunity to help educate the Vineyard community as to what the Clean Planet Fund is doing,” said Ms. Blu.
According to the Clean Planet Fund’s Web site, each year 286 million gallons of toxic solvent waste is produced in America. When a car is brought in for service or bodywork, liquid toxic chemical solvents such as acetone or Varsol are used. The waste is put into barrels and shipped off for incineration, a process which contributes to ozone depletion and is the third leading cause of global warming.
The Always Clean machine uses steam distillation to separate the clean re-usable chemicals from the dirty waste product. Used chemicals, such as paint thinner, are poured into the machine, which is hooked up to two barrels. The clean chemicals are filtered into one barrel and the waste product into another. Approximately 97 percent of the original solvent is recovered through the distillation process. And every gallon of recycled chemicals saves two-and-a-half gallons of oil from being pumped from the ground or purchased and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. The money shops save from not needing to buy new chemicals goes back into the fund to help pay for more machines.
On Saturday afternoon the Midnight Mermaid will host a silent auction and raffle. The proceeds will be put toward buying an Always Clean and donating it to an Island auto shop.
“It’s very much in keeping in the spirit of the Vineyard serving as a role model of a green community,” Ms. Blu said. She hopes they can raise $3,500, which would be enough to put one machine on Island.
“It’s such a great community thing,” Mr. Mount said, adding that he’s pleased with the response so far. “It really re-emphasizes that people want to do the right thing. They just need the vehicle to be able to do that.”
On Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. the Midnight Mermaid on Main street in Edgartown will host a fundraiser for The Clean Planet Fund, and on Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. Che’s Lounge on Main street in Vineyard Haven will host another.