While we all like coffee, what America really runs on is cars—from the personal vehicle that you use daily for work, chores, and fun to the commercial and industrial vehicles that keep everything moving and stocked. It also means we produce a lot of automotive waste, from the antifreeze you top off before the Nor’easter to the spent motor oil that’s been gathering dust in your garage. Today, we’re going to look at how to dispose of all these kinds of automotive waste, including best practices to avoid costly contamination.
Common Kinds of Automotive Waste
Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to automotive work on your car or just have a few spare bottles of car products for emergencies, chances are you’ve got a container of motor oil, antifreeze, coolant, or other automotive products at home in the garage.
- Motor Oil & Oil Filters: Oil should be disposed of in a clean container to avoid contamination (see below), and oil filters need to be drained and packed with absorbent material.
- Coolant & Antifreeze: While car coolant and antifreeze aren’t hazardous waste, contamination from your car can make them unsafe for home disposal. Learn more here.
- Gasoline: Gasoline must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility, especially if it’s contaminated or spoiled. Here are tips for storage and disposal.
- Car Batteries: Car batteries, along with many household batteries, can’t be disposed of at home due to lead and acid. Many automotive stores offer trade-ins, or you can bring them to us.
Learn more in our blog, Under the Hood: Dealing with Hazardous Waste from Cars.
Issues with Halogen Contaminated Oil
Why is it so important to dispose of motor oil in clean containers? One major issue with motor oil is the possibility of contamination with chlorine halogen. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations require that oil that will be used in energy recovery recycling cannot contain more than 1000 ppm (parts per million) total halogens. There’s a good reason for this: halogens are a major pollutant that causes ozone depletion (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has an in-depth article on the effect). This means if oil is contaminated with halogens, it’s much harder to dispose of and may not be accepted at facilities.
Need help with your automotive waste? NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers can help! For everything from disposing of automotive fluids to detecting contaminated oil for households and small businesses (we use Clor-D-Tect, as you can see in the above picture), we’re here to make hazardous disposal easy. See our locations, contact us online, or call us at 1-866-769-1621 to get started. We also offer a home pick-up service!