Recycling Mystery: Antifreeze

Recycling Mystery: Antifreeze

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Antifreeze: Wise automotive house owners have some saved within the storage to maintain their engines operating correctly in excessive chilly (and scorching) circumstances. What if it’s been sitting there too lengthy? Can you recycle leftover antifreeze?

The excellent news is that antifreeze is recyclable.

What Is Antifreeze?

Antifreeze is a water-based additive that lowers the freezing level of the water in your engine and prevents boiling in excessive temperatures. That’s why you might have additionally heard it known as engine coolant, and why it’s vital to your automotive year-round.

Manufacturers sometimes make antifreeze with both ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. The chemical base is critical as a result of ethylene glycol is poisonous if ingested and propylene glycol is “usually acknowledged as protected” by the Food and Drug Administration in low doses. If you’ve curious little ones in your family, it’s a good suggestion to make use of propylene glycol (typically marketed as “unhazardous”) antifreeze as an alternative of ethylene glycol. This is particularly vital as a result of antifreeze typically has a candy style that draws children and pets. (Editor’s notice: “Nontoxic” propylene glycol antifreeze can nonetheless be poisonous to children and pets, so please retailer it out of attain.)

There are additionally quite a few colours of antifreeze — and the color matters. The most typical colour is inexperienced, however when shopping for antifreeze, you wish to ensure you purchase the proper colour. Mixing colours could cause engine harm. Luckily, the colour has no impact on the recycling market; it’s a dye that’s used for branding.

If you’ve your automotive serviced professionally, the mechanic seemingly tops off your coolant each time you modify your oil. But it’s additionally a good suggestion to have a bottle with you, particularly on lengthy highway journeys or heading into winter climate.

How Is Antifreeze Recycled?

First off, do it’s worthwhile to recycle your antifreeze in any respect? If unopened, it will last indefinitely, and even as soon as opened it ought to last as long as eight years. Plus, good automotive upkeep means all the time holding your coolant full.

Believe it or not, some cities will pick up antifreeze for recycling curbside. However, this selection is uncommon, so test domestically. If your native service does provide curbside antifreeze pickup, ensure you observe the container necessities and don’t combine the antifreeze with some other fluids.

While many automobile retailers settle for used motor oil (one other recyclable automotive fluid), no nationwide retail auto elements chains settle for antifreeze at each retailer. Check the Earth911 database for native recycling choices. If it’s worthwhile to get rid of antifreeze (new or used), take it to your native family hazardous waste (HHW) program. A couple of vital ideas:

  • Don’t combine antifreeze with different automotive fluids like brake fluid or transmission fluid. Keep all liquids in separate containers.
  • Especially on the West Coast, many communities function antifreeze, batteries, oil, and paint (ABOP) assortment amenities which are open extra typically than HHW packages. That’s as a result of ABOP are recyclable supplies, whereas different HHW objects (for instance, pesticides and cleaners) must be incinerated.
  • Many HHW areas function swap shops the place you’ll be able to pick-up free merchandise. This is a good way to get extra antifreeze.

Most used antifreeze is recycled into new coolant by filtering out any metals or oil and including new chemical substances. So, it’s possible you’ll be shopping for recycled antifreeze with out even realizing it.

Originally revealed on December 19, 2018, this text was up to date in January 2023.

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