Cars contain a variety of parts that can be recycled if handled properly, but some parts can also be toxic and considered dangerous waste. Learn how to manage the most common dangerous waste as well as how to:
- Improve auto recycling practices.
- Ensure materials are managed according to the Dangerous Waste Regulations.
- Apply pollution prevention (P2) best practices.
Recycling materials is encouraged because it can decrease the amount of dangerous waste your business produces. Most materials auto recyclers handle can be recycled or reused, but some may still require designation and careful handling, such as:
- Brake and carburetor cleaners often contain chlorinated solvent (methylene chloride).
Waste code: F002.
- Sump sludge must be designated to determine if it's dangerous waste.
For wastes that do not designate and cannot be recycled or reused, you may dispose of:
- As solid waste (some solid wastes require clearance from local health departments).
- Through a waste service provider.
|Waste||Best Handling Method|
|Air bags||Sell or dispose of properly.|
|Antifreeze||Sell, reuse, or recycle on-site or off-site.|
|Batteries||Remove, store in proper containers, and recycle.|
|Brake fluid||Manage uncontaminated brake fluid as used oil.|
|Empty containers||Reuse on-site or recycle off-site.|
|Fuel||Dispose of through a waste service provider.|
|Fuel filters||Drain them of fuel. Manage drained metal filters as scrap metal.|
|Lead parts (wheel weights, battery cable ends)||Recycle as scrap metal.|
|Mercury auto switches||Dispose of properly through our Automotive Mercury Switch Removal Program.|
|Plastics||Look for ways to recycle. New technologies are coming online every day.|
|Refrigerants||Use EPA-certified equipment and technicians. Reuse on-site or send off-site to an EPA-certified recycling firm.|
|Shop towels||Use a commercial service that provides laundered cloth towels.|
|Solid wastes||Place in a closed container (garbage can or dumpster). Do not contaminate with other wastes. Dispose of as normal solid waste.|
|Solvents||Recycle through a service provider or dispose of as dangerous waste. Extend change-out time until solvent is unusable.|
|Stormwater||Avoid contamination. Get a stormwater permit if discharging off-site or register if using UIC.|
|Sump sludge||If it doesn't designate as dangerous waste, dispose of through a solid waste facility.|
|Tires||Recycle when possible, sell, or transport and dispose of properly.|
|Used oil filters||Drain oil, recycle filter through scrap metal dealer.|
|Windshield washer fluid||Reuse or sell.|
Drips and spills
Material that drips, leaks, or spills is waste unless it can still be used.
- Clean up drips, leaks, and spills promptly so they don’t spread.
- Use proper containment.
- Keep waste accumulation areas dry and clean.
Improve your spill response
You must report any spill that endangers human health or the environment, regardless of the size.
- Keep spill cleanup supplies handy and train employees how to use them.
- Choose compatible absorbents.
- For small spills, use absorbent granules, pads, or other materials. It may create less dangerous waste than washing with water.
- Designate and properly dispose of spill debris.