Coolant is an important compound that mixes with water to help regulate your engine’s temperature. Even if the levels of your engine coolant remain the same over a long period, it reaches a point when it needs to be changed, so read on to learn more about how to dispose of old engine coolant.
Does AutoZone Take Old Coolant?
Unlike many recycling facilities, most AutoZone stores around the country accept coolant/antifreeze, transmission fluid, automotive oil, gear oil, and motor oil as part of the company’s recycling program.
AutoZone usually receives payment for the fluids collected, encouraging them to accept more coolant and engine oil from car owners who change them at home.
However, it is worth noting that the company states that only ‘most’ of its locations accept these hazardous fluids.
This means that it is not a guarantee that the closest AutoZone store to your home will accept your old coolant. Therefore, contacting your local AutoZone beforehand is best to inquire whether they accept used coolant.
If they do not accept it, you can always contact local service stations or recycling centers to get more information on how to dispose of it. Most of these recycling centers and service stations do not accept old antifreeze for recycling if it has been contaminated with any other fluid.
If your old antifreeze is contaminated, ensure that you reach out to your local hazardous waste location to confirm they will accept and dispose of it properly.
The chances are that old coolant is not something you often think about, but its contents are very important. Recent reports also show that old coolant is among the most commonly disposed of items in American households.
Even though engine coolant is never used to its full potential, AutoZone can recycle it in various ways to make it functional again.
This way, it does not end up in landfills and creates a substantial environmental hazard. AutoZone recycles gallons of old coolant and repurposes them into useful products yearly.
First, the company collects the old coolant and then transports it to a processing plant, where it is filtered and categorized into various quality grades.
These grades are tested for contaminants and later sold as various petroleum and household products as follows:
- Old coolant that meets high-quality standards is later processed into other products such as livestock feed and pet food.
- Old coolant brought to AutoZone by auto repair shops is usually recycled into motor oil and other automotive fluids such as transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, and gear lubes.
- Sometimes AutoZone repurposes old coolant into grease and brake fluid.
- AutoZone also recycles old coolant and processes it into asphalt used in parking lots and public roads.
- Old coolant can also be processed and used as fuel for power plants.
- AutoZone recycles old coolant into clothing fibers, paint, and carpets.
- Old coolant is also repurposed into industrial fuel for delivery trucks.
Many people are usually worried that it will cost them money to take old coolant to AutoZone and recycle it. Fortunately, it does not cost you anything. The law makes it AutoZone’s responsibility to ensure that the industry has as little environmental effect as possible.
This means you can take your old coolant and other used automotive fluids to AutoZone for recycling, and you will not pay anything. This makes recycling the most sensible and cost-efficient method for car owners to properly dispose of their old coolant.
The amount of used oil that AutoZone can accept is limited by state or federal guidelines. The limits are passed into law and enforced by the respective agencies. AutoZone only accepts five gallons of uncontaminated oil per visit and up to 25 gallons per year for recycling.
If you have more to dispose of, it will take you several visits to AutoZone to finally recycle all of it. However, trucking companies and commercial trucking fleet owners are exempted from these limits.
If you own a trucking company, check with the local government agency to verify how much old oil you can drop off at AutoZone per visit. The good news is that while dropping off your old oil, you can also recycle oil filters, tires, and batteries on the same day. They usually accept them.
What You Should Do If You Spill Old Coolant on the Ground?
It is not advisable to pour used coolant on the ground. However, if you spill coolant while changing it, you can follow these steps to clean it:
- First, wear protective gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in the coolant’s fumes.
- Cover the spilled coolant using an absorbent material such as a kitty litter, sand, or baking soda.
- Cover the absorbent material using paper towels and let it rest for 2-3 hours
- Wipe the absorbent material and paper towels and dispose of them in the waste bag. Once you are done, ensure that you seal the waste bag and wash your hands.
- Wash the area the coolant spilled using water and soap.
- Use newspapers or paper towels to dry the area as much as possible.
Coolant has a sweet smell and taste that can easily attract pets, pests, and kids. Therefore, you should never pour old coolant down the drain as animals and kids may drink it. It is also not advisable to dispose of old coolant in the garbage can or toilet, even if you have a septic system.
This is because coolant contains glycol, toxic to animals and humans if ingested in certain doses. Ingesting coolant in large quantities can result in reproductive damage, birth defects, and even death. Therefore, ensure that you keep coolant out of the reach of children and pets at all times.
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Dispose of Old Coolant?
- Check the coolant’s level and quality to determine whether it needs to be changed.
- Contact a local hazardous waste or recycling facility and inquire about containing and disposing of the old coolant.
- Drain your vehicle’s radiator of the old coolant.
- Clean up any spills immediately and thoroughly.
- Secure and transport the old coolant to the facility in plastic bottles.