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.