I messed up and I put different used automotive fluids in the same containter..

Messages
10
Location
New Hampshire
I'm fairly new at doing fluid swaps on my own, my dad always used to help me and he would take care of recycling all the old fluids. Never really paid attention to how he did it but come to find out... he separated them so they didn't mix so that they can be recycled, who would have thought. Didn't really think this one through when doing my fluid changes and found out the hard way when I googled "how to recycle used automotive fluids" duh So now I'm stuck with a few containers of used automotive fluids that aren't separated. Brake fluid, engine coolant, oil, ATF, all in the same containers. In hindsight it's pretty "duh" that they would need to be separated but hey gotta learn somehow. What is the correct way to dispose of the fluids now that they're mixed? I read that I might need to contact my local hazardous waste facility. On my local waste facility's website they list all the different fluids that they take but it doesn't say if they can be mixed or not. They're not open again until Tuesday but in the interim I was hoping someone here could advise.
 
Messages
4,186
Location
Cali
Dump it. LOL

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Messages
4,240
Location
Central Maryland
All the oily stuff can stay mixed together. The problem is the coolant is contaminated. You can let them sit and seperate, and recycle the oily stuff. But the contaminated coolant has to go to HazMat.
 
Messages
1,199
Location
Pacific Northwest
The problem is the glycol in the oil. Both brake fluid and coolant contain glycol based compounds which cause the oil recyclers not to be able to use it. It's hazardous waste now.
 
Messages
707
Location
Southwest Michigan
The glycols are not listed, ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic (by TCLP) wastes. They will be separate from the oils. Pour off the oils from on top of the glycols and recycle both.
 
Messages
50
Location
Alberta
Originally Posted by IMSA_Racing_Fan
Should have been more cognizant.
What is the point of posts like this? OP already said he didn't know.
 
Messages
2,291
Location
WA
I would take them to local hazardous collection places. We get letters every few months where the collection sites are. Big corporations dump them into our rivers and ocean then they say, sorry, we didn't realize that pipe was connected to this pipe ... and get a $10,000 fine. One of the hospitals here was dumping sewage and/or chemicals into Puget Sound (ocean) for many years. I think it was another case of a wrong pipe connected or wrong valve opened ... Then they wonder why fish runs and numbers of Salmon & Steelhead are so low.
 
Messages
5,013
Location
VA
You could bring it to my property and dump it on my gravel driveway. Start on the lower driveway near the Japanese Maples and spread it out till you get within 3 feet of my well cap. Just be careful don't get it in my grass as it will kill it.
 

01rangerxl

Site Donor 2021
Messages
10,284
Location
Birmingham, AL
Originally Posted by Silverado12
Dump it at the local auto parts store. Let them deal with it.
This is pretty much what people do, all kinds of things wind up in waste oil tanks. That said, the most ethical thing to do would be to take it to a hazardous waste disposal site, probably at the nearest landfill. Tell them what's in it, if they care, but that's probably your most responsible option at this point.
 
Messages
588
Location
los angeles
Just call the city's hazardous waste line and ask them. My local auto places won't take mixed fluids, but my countys hazardous waste collection center will. They're only open 2 days a month though. Still, it's good to keep them separate.
 
Messages
1,199
Location
Pacific Northwest
Originally Posted by Silverado12
Dump it at the local auto parts store. Let them deal with it.
The manager at my LAPS told me that they got charged $6K for a contaminated tank of oil last winter. Now they always ask if there is brake fluid or anything in the oil and they don't let you dump your jug in the tank any more without checking it. Recently, one of the employees freaked a little bit when he noticed that my oil was red due to being mostly ATF. He wouldn't take my word for it an had to call his manager to find out that it was fine to recycle.
 
Messages
1,671
Location
California
I did this once also (only once) and my error was based on a false assumption that brake fluid and power steering fluid are the same. As stated, take the mixed fluids to your local hazmat facility (probably county-run) for disposal and in the future keep separate containers for recycling. Most of us do the best we can, and we all screw up from time to time. It's only human.
 
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