Automotive Products Require Special Disposal

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Contributed by Prince William County Landfill

Motor Oil, Antifreeze, Auto Battery –Recycle These Hazardous Valuable Resources

Prince William, VA, Do you or someone in your household regularly change the oil or perform other maintenance such as changing the battery or replacing the antifreeze.  Motor oil, oil filters, antifreeze and vehicle batteries all require special treatment for proper disposal in Prince William County. Proper disposal of each of these items is the responsibility of all citizens because these items contain chemical compounds that can be harmful to humans, animals and the environment.

Trash in Prince William County generally is disposed of at the Prince William County Landfill on Dumfries Road, and used oil, antifreeze and auto batteries do not belong in the trash because they pose potential contamination of surrounding soil and water if they become part of the landfill.  In addition, used motor oil or antifreeze should never be poured on the ground or down a storm drain because these flow into the Chesapeake Bay. These toxins can be kept out of the landfill and out the watershed by using local recycling facilities.

TIPS for the Backyard Mechanic*

Weekend DIY car maintenance guys and gals that change the oil and other fluids in their own vehicles should:

  • Collect and store oil and antifreeze separately in water tight containers.
  • Take used oil, oil filters, antifreeze and car batteries to the Prince William County Landfill or Balls Ford Road facility. Additionally, many service stations, auto repair shops and parts stores provide collection sites for these waste products. Visit or call VA DEQ at 804-698-4029 for a list of facilities near you.
  • Store and dispose used oil filters in a manner that prevents oil discharges. It is recommended that you:
    – Drain as much oil from the filter as possible.
    – Place the oil filter in a plastic bag.
    – Recycle the used oil filter at the Prince William County Landfill or Balls Ford Road facility.

Do Not:

  • Mix used oil with other fluids such as water, antifreeze, degreasers, gasoline or other motor fuels, etc. Mixing used oil with other fluids make that oil more difficult, or expensive to dispose of.
  • Dispose of oil by placing that oil into or on driveways, ditches, dry wells, surface water, roadways (for dust control), storm sewers, etc. The discharge of oil into or upon state lands, waters, or storm sewers is a violation of the Virginia Water Control Law. Persons discharging in this manner may be fined and/or be required to clean up that discharge.
  • Dump waste antifreeze on land or discharge it into a sanitary sewer, storm drain, ditch, dry well, or septic system; dumping antifreeze can cause serious water quality problems and might harm people, pets, or wildlife.
  • Let these valuable resources go to waste by storing them indefinitely, or improperly dispose of them in the regular trash and ultimately the landfill. Drop off your used motor oil, oil filters, antifreeze and auto batteries at the Landfill, Balls Ford Road or other recycling center today to help prevent pollution, save precious resources and conserve energy for a safer and healthier Prince William County.

*Adapted from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Hazardous Valuable Resources

Used oil is a complex organic substance that consists of heavy metals and hydrocarbons like benzene. Antifreeze contains the toxic ingredient ethylene glycol or propylene glycol and used antifreeze may contain harmful heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and chromium.  Auto batteries contain harmful lead.  All are health and environmental hazards.  When dispose of properly, used motor oil, oil filters and antifreeze and automotive batteries can be recycled or “beneficially used.”  Oil doesn’t wear out; it just gets dirty. Used oil can be cleaned, re-refined and used again and again.Used oil may be blended and recycled as a heating or industrial fuel and also may be re-refined and made into new lubricants.

Likewise, up to 97% of a vehicle battery, also known as a lead acid battery is recyclable. The battery’s materials can be used to make new batteries or other products. Auto batteries are crushed into nickel-sized pieces and plastic components and lead are separated. The plastic is reprocessed for manufacture into new plastic products and the purified lead is used by battery manufacturers and other industries. Even the used acid is recycled for reuse. A typical lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic.

Importantly, recycling these items saves precious resources, for example recycling antifreeze reduces the consumption of nonrenewable resources like oil and natural gas used to manufacture ethylene and propylene glycol.

Next time you change your own oil, or replace your battery, help prevent pollution and conserve energy and valuable resources by dropping off the used items at a collection center to be recycled.

For more information on recycling or proper disposal of hazardous materials visit or call the Solid Waste Division at 703-792-4670. 

Information contained on this page is provided by an independent third-party content provider. Prince William Living Inc. and it’s staff make no warranties or representations in connection therewith. If you have any questions or comments about this page please contact [email protected]


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