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What is Antifreeze?
Antifreeze is a substance used to lower a liquid’s freezing point. Ethylene glycol, the most commonly used antifreeze, is used in automotive cooling systems, though other types of antifreeze are also used in windshield-wiper fluids, cleaners, and commercial refrigeration systems.
Due to the amounts of lead, cadmium, and chromium that could be found in waste antifreeze, most states restrict its disposal for businesses. Antifreeze should never be disposed of on land, in sewers, storm drains, or ditches. With careful handling, individuals are able to dispose of antifreeze in landfills, but recycling alternatives are more beneficial for consumers and the environment.
Why Recycle Antifreeze?
Recycling antifreeze is cost efficient, preserves resources, and prevents contamination of water and wildlife.
<![if !supportLists]> 1. <![endif]> Purchasing recycled antifreeze is less expensive than newly produced antifreeze.
<![if !supportLists]> 2. <![endif]> Businesses that use large amounts of antifreeze can lower management costs by starting their own recycling program on-site.
<![if !supportLists]> 3. <![endif]> Lessening the amount of virgin antifreeze produce preserves non-renewable natural gas, which is used to produce ethylene glycol.
Antifreeze Recycling Options
The recycling process for antifreeze involves two steps:
<![if !supportLists]> 1. <![endif]> Removing the contaminants that develop in used antifreeze. Contaminants can be removed by filtration, distillation, reverse osmosis, or ion exchange.
<![if !supportLists]> 2. <![endif]> Restoring critical properties to filtered antifreeze. Critical properties are generally restored using additives or chemicals to stabilize pH, limit corrosion, and slow the breakdown of ethylene glycol.
There are a variety of recycling options available to both commercial and individual consumers.
<![if !supportLists]> 1. <![endif]> On-site Recycling: Commercial businesses that frequently use or dispose of antifreeze could invest in an on-site recycling unit for processing. These units decrease the expense spent on purchasing new antifreeze. If recycling on-site, be sure to obtain proper disposal information for any contaminant waste filtered from used antifreeze.
<![if !supportLists]> 3. <![endif]> Off-Site Recycling: Specialized recycling companies also operate locally and process waste antifreeze off-site from the business. Many of these companies also resupply commercial consumers with recycled antifreeze.
Reducing Antifreeze Waste
<![if !supportLists]> 1. <![endif]> Consider purchasing extended-life antifreeze, which can last up to twice as long as traditional antifreeze. Extended-life antifreeze reduces the amount of antifreeze disposed and decreases the amount of waste produced from use.
<![if !supportLists]> 2. <![endif]> Some manufacturers use propylene glycol, less toxic than ethylene glycol, as the alternative active ingredient in their antifreeze. Use of this alternative chemical reduces the danger posed to humans and animals, in the event of improper disposal or handling. Although the unused product is less toxic, waste antifreeze will still contain contaminants and should be disposed of accordingly.
Antifreeze Handling & Precautions
Consider the following when handling, reusing, or recycling antifreeze.
keep antifreeze in its original container, and keep the
container away from heat,
does not expire. If
storing new antifreeze, consider donating it to a school, shop,
<![if !supportLists]> 3. <![endif]> Never mix antifreeze with oil or any other liquid or chemical.
antifreeze spills quickly with an absorbent, like kitty litter,
sand, or vermiculite.
<![if !supportLists]> 5. <![endif]> Avoid disposing liquid directly into the trash.
<![if !supportLists]> 6. <![endif]> Replace antifreeze in your vehicle only as needed to avoid unnecessary waste.
antifreeze at local recycling centers, service stations, or
repair garages. Some
If no recycling
options are available, dispose of waste antifreeze properly at a
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