The Greene Team
G & R Auto Parts
Photo: Joley Photography
It’s just a coincidence that the family that owns G & R Auto Parts has an environmentally friendly name. Consider that very appropriate - since the Greene family was “going green” at their Oklahoma City, Okla. recycling yard even before it was fashionable.
“Recyclers were always at the forefront of the green movement,” said Julie Malicott, co-owner of G & R Auto Parts with her father Alan Greene and brother Greg Greene. “When a car is at the end-of-its-life, it starts its life with us. Ninety-five percent of a vehicle’s weight is recycled, from parts to fluids. Not only are used parts much less expensive than new parts, they have the advantage of being good for the environment. Today, that’s a selling point for customers who want to make an environmentally responsible ‘green’ choice.”
G & R Auto Parts is a success story now in its third generation. The business was founded in 1956 by Julie and Greg’s grandfather, Lawrence Greene, and their uncle Bob Ruppert. (It became exclusively owned by the Greene family when Uncle Ruppert left to start his own recycling yard.) By the 1960s, they had organized the rows of cars and begun inventorying parts.
Greg and Julie grew up at the yard, hanging around after school and helping out. By the time that they were ready to work full-time, the environmental push was under way.
“In 1996, we installed a closed loop water recycling system to clean our parts,” explained Greg. “That means that we use the same water over and over. We clean the parts, and the water goes down in the drain. The water gets cleaned, and the chemicals in it never touch the ground. Then we repeat the process. An added bonus is that we are able to conserve water, which also is good for the environment.”
“In the late 1990s, there was a big focus on stormwater pollution,” said Julie. “We received a stormwater permit and worked to reduce the amount of chemicals in stormwater. We have quarterly inspections to monitor spills, leaks, and check equipment for maintenance, in order to keep up our commitment.”
Greg added, “We’re also part of the mercury switch removal program. We remove the mercury in headlights prior to crushing the cars. That in turn reduces the amount of mercury going into the environment.”
“People think of salvage yards as junk yards,” added Julie, “but we’re really environmentalists.”
In 1978, G & R Auto Parts carried just General Motors parts. But five years ago, it expanded into other U.S. brands and foreign makes and models to be more responsive to the needs of its customers. That’s because customer service is just as important to the family-owned business as its commitment to a clean, environmentally-friendly operation.
“G & R Auto Parts strives for higher standards to set us apart from others,” said Greg. “That’s one reason that we went for the Gold Seal certification in 2007.”
The Automotive Recycling Association’s (ARA) Gold Seal certification ensures excellence in customer satisfaction through customer service, quality parts with accurate descriptions, reliable on-time deliveries and written product warranties. G & R Auto Parts remains one of only a handful of recyclers in the state that are certified Gold Seal.
“Gold Seal also promotes green disassembly practices for recyclers,” noted Julie. The environmental focus will of course continue even as the family contemplates expanding the dismantling area.
“People are always talking about doing things that are better for the environment,” she said. “Buying recycled parts is something you can do. Just think, recycled parts are road tested. They are built by the manufacturer. They are low cost. You can be good to the earth, keep these parts out of landfills, and reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a win-win for everybody. Go green and buy a recycled part!”