brownbearA car wash fundraiser program sponsored by a chain in Ken, Washington is earning accolades for its environmentally friendly approach. Brown Bear Car Wash has a program for local groups and charities looking to raise money that puts a new spin on the classic car wash fundraiser. Instead of hosting a day of washes for donations, the small business lets groups sell tickets to the car wash and keep the bulk of the proceeds.

The Kent Reporter writes that the car wash has the program in place at two locations. Organizations buy tickets for a standard wash from Brown Bear Car Wash for $1.50 each and┬ásell them for $6 to $8 a piece. The organization doing the fundraiser gets to keep the excess and the car wash sees to it that customers receive a wash that doesn’t harm the environment.

According to Brown Bear Car Wash, runoff from their car washes is treated and then drained into a sewer system instead of the storm drain system, which is typically used during parking lot fundraisers. Brown Bear Car Wash uses “non-caustic, non-acidic, non-corrosive and phosphate-free solutions.” The fundraising program offers a way for organizations to customize the tickets they sell and refund any unsold tickets for $1.25 each.

Many corrosive and toxic substances get deposited on streets and highways and end up on cars and trucks. Wastewater from parking lot and driveway car washes containing toxic hydrocarbons, oil, grease, and other suspended solids like brake dust, often flow directly into storm drains intended for rainwater. These substances can then eventually end up in our rivers, lakes, and other waterways, potentially harming or even killing fish and other aquatic life.

The car wash recently won a local award recognizing the program and its green focus.