How do I Dispose of Antifreeze?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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There are only a few ways to legally dispose of antifreeze. The easiest method for most people is to simply pour it into a sealable container and take it to an auto parts store and allow the workers to dispose of it for you. Typically, most oil change shops and auto parts stores will take care of antifreeze for you. As it is an environmentally dangerous chemical, antifreeze must never be poured down a drain or on the ground in an attempt to quickly and easily dispose of it. Disposing of it improperly can result in a heavy fine and even jail time.

In the early years of the automobile, mechanics and car owners alike would dispose of antifreeze by pouring it down a drain or on the ground and allow it to soak in. Many individuals in rural settings would get rid of it by pouring it on the gravel road in front of the family home in an effort to reduce road dust from passing vehicles. As concern for the environment grew, regulations and methods were developed to dispose of this chemical in a more environmentally friendly way.


An effort to recycle antifreeze is under way, and new technology is allowing companies to extract certain chemicals from used products to help offset the manufacturing costs of making new ones. By recycling the old chemicals, companies can save on many costs, including the actual cost of recycling the fluid. As more and more people bring antifreeze in to be recycled, the company is able to produce new products as well as recycle old ones for less than the cost of simply recycling the product in the early days. In essence, this has become a somewhat self-supporting endeavor for the manufacturing companies that are also able to recycle the old plastic containers.

Not only does a company save on chemicals, the cleaned liquid also saves on the cost of water to manufacture new antifreeze. It is for this reason that recyclers are asked to not mix antifreeze and motor oil when recycling it. The motor oil will pollute the mixture, making it more costly and difficult to recycle. Old motor oil is recyclable in its own right and should be returned in the same manner as the antifreeze so it will not pollute the environment.


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Post 7

Most auto part stores do not accept waste antifreeze. Most retail auto part stores have no means of disposing of used antifreeze. Motor oil and other hydraulic fluids are usually accepted, though.

Post 6

Wondering why this advice is accurate as State environmental agencies specifically state that antifreeze may be poured in a drain so long as it is part of a municipal water system and it is flushed with much water. See the state of Delaware as an example.

Post 5
@Grinderry: Well, that was who I was more referring to: the mechanics and auto repair shops. I don't have many neighbors and they most certainly don't change their antifreeze themselves.
Post 4
@Realited: Well, as it states in the article, a lot of people don't change their antifreeze themselves, but rely on a garage to do it for them, so making sure your neighbor does it right unless he performs his own maintenance in his driveway isn't much of a priority.
Post 2
Well, I know it contains methanol, which is toxic. I remember getting that whole speech from my father when I was first learning to drive and he was showing me how to maintain a vehicle.

The fact that we had to institute ways of disposing and recycling this material is testament to its toxicity. There should be more controlled methods for finding out if people are indeed disposing of the substance in accordance with the laws. It would be terrible to find out that someone might have died or gotten ill due to someone else not taking care to properly dispose of this substance.

Post 1
I would think everyone who is interested in preserving the planet would be a strong supporter of this kind of process. And for that matter, while most of us have placed anti-freeze in our own cars, I don't think many of us can say for sure what goes into anti-freeze.

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