Disposing of your used automotive waste
With unemployment still really high and mechanics charging $60 or more an hour, it’s not easy to come up with the money you need for minor maintenance, such as oil changes or flushing coolant systems, so you’ve opted to do it yourself. Good idea! However, you want to make sure that you’ve got the right tools to dispose of the used oil or coolant. You can’t just dump it down the storm drain, as anyone who watched the BP oil spill develop can tell you.
When it comes to motor oil, there are multiple ways you can recycle or dispose of old oil that won’t harm the environment or make you feel guilty in the process.
First, check with your town and find out if they take used motor oil on recycling days. They may work with the recycling center to have it picked up. If the city and the authorities don’t have a way to dispose of used motor oil, ask them to. Stress the importance of the environment and how recycling motor oil can only help if everyone synchronizes pickup times and areas.
Second, check with places that do quick oil changes. Midas, Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys are three such places. Some places actually sell used motor oil and they’ll be more than happy to take your old motor oil for use as other kinds of oil, such as for lubricants. This saves time and energy because crude oil is harder to refine than used motor oil.
Third, several state parks have their own recycling bins. In fact, once you put it in a pan, you can sometimes go down to the park and pour the oil directly into the bin. The state of Delaware, for instance, has recycling for several items, including cardboard, newspaper, and oil.
Fourth, some repair centers actually use old oil in designed burners to heat their businesses. Several devices are being made now that will take used motor oil, clean and filter them and the finished product becomes heating oil. This saves both money and the environment.
If worse comes to worse, do an internet search for recycling centers in your area. Remember, there will always be a local chapter of a recycling site. Once you find that site, just type in your city and state or zip code and they’ll tell you where recycling centers for your old oil are.
With these in place, disposing of your oil will be quick, easy and environmentally conscious. Nothing is better than knowing you’ve just saved money on an oil change.
It is extremely important to recycle your old coolant, especially if you have kids or pets around. Coolant tastes sweet but old green coolant can be fatal to them, and even the newer red, yellow or orange coolant will make them very sick. Get a catch container and use it only for coolant (They sell them in different colors so you know to devote it to catching coolant.) If you have a ball-type or something along those lines, you can use that to test if it’s okay to go right ahead and put the old coolant right back into the engine. If you can, that’s the easiest way to recycle it.
Coolant recycling centers have only recently taken off in popularity, and if your town doesn’t have one, you can sometimes opt to take the coolant to a sewage treatment plant. The sewage plant can often safely break down the chemicals in the antifreeze. Remember: NEVER put the antifreeze in the ground, in a storm drain or a septic system.
If the sewage plants don’t have it, ask about coolant recycling in your area, and ask if a waste management company can pick it up for you.
Other fluids, such as transmission fluid and brake fluid, should never be mixed together, and it’s just bad form to dump it into the ground or into a storm drain. Local, state and Federal regulations have different rules for different fluids. Brake fluid, for example is very flammable, so it will need to be handled carefully. It’s important to take each fluid, keep each fluid in separate and dedicated containers and check to see what the recycling and disposal laws are in your city or state regarding each of the fluids that you are going to dispose of. It’s not just good for your wallet, it’s also good for your planet, in case you want to drive on it in ten or fifteen years.