New England cars run on antifreeze, but like all automotive products, it needs to be changed out occasionally. Once you’ve swapped out old coolant for new, what do you do with the waste product? While antifreeze and coolant aren’t regulated hazardous waste like motor oil, it’s still important to know what can make it a hazardous household product, especially after it’s been used in a car. [Read more…]
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 products at home in the garage, maybe even including used oil and oil filters. Much of this is household hazardous waste and can’t be disposed of down the sink or into a garbage can. Learn how to deal with hazardous waste from cars.
Dealing with Used Motor Oil and Oil Filters
Changing your own oil is an easy way to save on automotive expenses and have full freedom of what to put in your car, but you need to handle it safely after use. Motor oil is toxic to animals and plants, including fish, where a quart of oil can contaminate up to a million gallons of water.
- Disposing of Used Motor Oil: Collect oil in a clean container with a screw cap, such as the original container. Return used oil for recycling to the store where you purchased it (they are required by MA law). You can also use the Used Oil Hotline: 617-556-1022.
- Draining Used Oil Filters: If you also replace your own filters, take special care with the used filter: undrained oil filters can contain up to 12 ounces of motor oil. Before disposal, you should drain them: puncture the domed part of the oil filter with a sharp tool and drain, collecting the oil.
Dealing with Automotive Coolant and Antifreeze
For many MA vehicles, their coolant and antifreeze are one-and-the-same, including hybrid brands and 50/50 ratios. Coolant is toxic, and due to its sweet smell and bright color, can be a hazard to both animals and small children. Spent antifreeze may contain metals from the engine, such as lead, zinc, and copper. Spent coolant should be kept in a sealed container and kept out of reach of children and pets.
Before pouring coolant down the drain, you’ll need to get approval from your wastewater treatment facility, as antifreeze can disturb the biological action of sewage treatment and septic systems. Your local service station or repair garage may accept spent antifreeze. Note that even more environmentally friendly propylene glycol may contain the same car pollutants after use and should be disposed of similarly.
Learn more about automotive batteries in our blog, Everything You Need to Know About Hazardous Battery Disposal!
At NEDT, we help New England residents dispose of their household hazardous waste when other options aren’t available or feasible, but we think the first step should always be taking steps at home to be safe. Learn more about dealing with household products with our Fact Sheets. If you’re interested in drop-off or pick-up of hazardous household products, see our locations, contact us online, or call us at 1-866-769-1621.
Whether it’s a can for the mower or a backup container for your car, at some point or another, we’ve all had one of those iconic red containers with some spare gas. However, that useful substance is also a hazardous product, and without properly storing gasoline at home – as well as handling and disposal – you’ll encounter risks to your home, health, and the environment. Learn what you need to know to deal with this hazardous household product.
Handling and Storing Gasoline at Home
It’s important always to remember that as a fuel, gasoline is inherently dangerous to you and your family.
- Gasoline is highly flammable and can be explosive. Store gasoline in approved, air-tight containers well away from children and pets, open flames, and sources of ignition.
- Gas contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), especially from chemicals like benzene, a known carcinogen. Open in well-ventilated spaces.
- Do not store in your car’s trunk. These containers could break or be under threat of explosion from heat or impact during an accident.
How Gasoline Goes Bad
Like with many household products, gasoline can go bad. This can happen in two ways. First, gasoline can become contaminated, such as moved to an unclean container or left open near other products. Second is that gasoline has a shelf life, about six months for pure gas and three months for ethanol-blended gas (most US gas stations use “E10” gas that contains about 10% ethanol). In either situation, this gas should not be used and must be properly disposed of.
Disposing of Gasoline
Gasoline cannot be disposed of at home and shouldn’t be poured down the drain or thrown into the trash. This includes containers that have contained gasoline. You should also not mix gas with other automotive or chemical waste. Instead, gasoline is a Household Hazardous Product and needs to be disposed of at a community disposal event or a household hazardous waste collection center.
The NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Centers are just such a place. We’ve got multiple locations to help New Englanders dispose of gasoline and many other common hazardous products. Learn more about what we accept and educate yourself more on gasoline and other household hazardous products with our Fact Sheets. We also provide pick up services, including contactless services: contact us to learn more.