The Proper Way to Dispose of Brake Cleaner and Other Hazardous Materials

It is the time of year for fun with the family, building carrot-nosed snowmen, and eating more chocolate than your sweet tooth can handle. It is also the time of year for dragging all of those Christmas decorations out of your garage as well. If you are having a little trouble reaching all of those boxes, you may need to clean out the garage.

Be careful, though. Certain items from your garage can not be simply placed on the curb for the normal rubbish collection. Items like car batteries, old brake cleaner, pesticides, and old oil must be disposed of properly according to your local council rules and regulations.

Disposing of Hazardous Materials

Before you dispose of any material that may be considered hazardous, or harmful to human health or the health of the environment, contact your local council. You can easily find the name, phone number, and website of your local council by visiting the official UK government website and entering your postcode or street and town information.

Your local council should be able to provide you with a detailed list of their recycling and disposing practice. For instance, some may dispose of paint for you, but will only pick the paint up on certain days of the month. Until then, you may want to figure out how to reduce the amount of waste in your garage so piles of plastic oil bottles and leftover coolant aren’t taking up a lot of space and keeping you from reaching your Christmas decorations.

  • Coolant– In previous years, you may have simply tossed your old coolant on the ground to control the weeds around your home. Today though, you know that this is no longer acceptable and is very harmful to the environment. So what do you do with all of that leftover coolant? First, make sure you drain all of the coolant into a new drain pan so it does not come into contact with any oil. Call around your neighbourhood to different auto parts stores. Some of these stores have their own coolant recycling machines, which distil the coolant. The shop can then add an additive to the coolant and it can be used as if it was new.
  • Paint Thinner and Gasoline– Have just a little bit of gasoline or paint thinner sitting in your garage? If there is only a small amount, there is an easy way to get rid of it. Find a well-ventilated, warm area out of the reach of small fingers and pets and let it sit open until it is completely dry.
  • Brake Fluid– When you bleed your brakes, catch the run off in a jar. Keep the jar open for a few months (out of the reach of children, away from fire or sparks, and in an area where it will not be knocked over.) After a few months it will have absorbed enough water from the air to reduce its boiling point. Pour the brake fluid in a pan of cat litter and set it out of the way for a couple of days. A few days is all it takes for this hazardous material to evaporate.
  • Brake Cleaner– Brake cleaner can be very hazardous to both your health and the environment if it is not disposed of correctly. Never dispose of it in your sewer, storm drain, or down your kitchen sink. Once you catch your brake cleaner, it will actually evaporate after a while, leaving you with only the dirt and grime you cleaned off your brakes. However, it is important to contact your local council and make sure this practice is allowed before you try it.

When you need to clear out your garage this holiday season, make sure you dispose of your hazardous materials, like brake cleaner, correctly. Before you set it on the curb, contact your local council and find the best ways to get rid of harmful materials.

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