There are only a few ways to legally dispose of antifreeze. The easiest method for most people is to simply pour it into a sealable container and take it to an auto parts store and allow the workers to dispose of it for you. Typically, most oil change shops and auto parts stores will take care of antifreeze for you. As it is an environmentally dangerous chemical, antifreeze must never be poured down a drain or on the ground in an attempt to quickly and easily dispose of it. Disposing of it improperly can result in a heavy fine and even jail time.
In the early years of the automobile, mechanics and car owners alike would dispose of antifreeze by pouring it down a drain or on the ground and allow it to soak in. Many individuals in rural settings would get rid of it by pouring it on the gravel road in front of the family home in an effort to reduce road dust from passing vehicles. As concern for the environment grew, regulations and methods were developed to dispose of this chemical in a more environmentally friendly way.
An effort to recycle antifreeze is under way, and new technology is allowing companies to extract certain chemicals from used products to help offset the manufacturing costs of making new ones. By recycling the old chemicals, companies can save on many costs, including the actual cost of recycling the fluid. As more and more people bring antifreeze in to be recycled, the company is able to produce new products as well as recycle old ones for less than the cost of simply recycling the product in the early days. In essence, this has become a somewhat self-supporting endeavor for the manufacturing companies that are also able to recycle the old plastic containers.
Not only does a company save on chemicals, the cleaned liquid also saves on the cost of water to manufacture new antifreeze. It is for this reason that recyclers are asked to not mix antifreeze and motor oil when recycling it. The motor oil will pollute the mixture, making it more costly and difficult to recycle. Old motor oil is recyclable in its own right and should be returned in the same manner as the antifreeze so it will not pollute the environment.