How to Safely Dispose of Used Antifreeze

Antifreeze is a useful but highly hazardous material, so it’s important to find the right places to take and dispose of it.


Apr. 1 2021, Published 12:43 p.m. ET

Who takes used antifreeze
Source: Getty Images

Antifreeze is an essential coolant that is used to keep car engines running in extreme hot or cold conditions. Unfortunately, this glycol-based fluid is highly toxic if ingested, and it's also hazardous to the environment — which makes it exceptionally difficult to get rid of. Properly disposing of or recycling used antifreeze doesn’t mean just throwing it to the curb; it often involves finding a specific disposal site or finding someone who takes used antifreeze.

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who takes used antifreeze
Source: Getty Images

Who takes used antifreeze?

Firstly — and this is very, very important — you cannot simply dispose of antifreeze on your own by dumping it down the toilet. Like any hazardous material, it must be properly disposed of in order to keep everyone safe. To do it the right way, you need to find a business, municipality, or organization that takes such chemicals.

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Luckily, Jiffy Lube accepts used antifreeze for recycling in many of its 2,000 U.S. locations. We recommend that you call your local Jiffy Lube to be sure, or check the Jiffy Lube website before bringing in your used antifreeze.

According to Earth911, a few municipalities will allow residents to recycle antifreeze either at the curb or at one of their sanitation facilities. The same is true for other hazardous materials like paint, fluorescent light bulbs, or batteries. Check with your local town or sanitation department for hazardous waste recycling or disposal programs in your area. They will also likely tell you what sort of storage the antifreeze needs to be in before they will accept it. 

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who takes used antifreeze
Source: Getty Images

Can antifreeze be recycled?

If your antifreeze is discolored, full of rust, or otherwise useless as a coolant, then it must be disposed of. However, left on its own and unopened, the antifreeze will last forever. It will not “go bad” or anything like that. That means you can top off your coolant whenever you need to do so. Opened antifreeze will last for eight years before it needs to be disposed of.

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Companies that do accept antifreeze for recycling don’t just throw it out, either. According to Eath911, some companies sift or filter old antifreeze to remove any metals, oil, or offending chemicals so that it can be reused again and again. Also, some companies that accept hazardous home waste like paint or antifreeze offer swaps for free replacement products as an incentive for recycling

Do auto mechanics take used antifreeze?

According to Car Talk Community, this is not an easy task. Many auto stores will take back used motor oil, brake fluid, or even car batteries, but none will take back antifreeze. However, some auto mechanics have contracts with disposal and recycling companies so that they can dispose of their used antifreeze. 

That doesn’t mean that every mechanic or auto repair shop is going to accept your old antifreeze, especially if you haven’t done business with them in the past, but it’s worth it to ask. Note that if you get your coolant changed at an auto shop, the shop will most likely get rid of it for you safely. 

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