Automotive Products

Air Conditioning

  • Find a garage that has the equipment to recover and recycle Freon.
  • If your air conditioning system needs a charge of Freon (a chlorofluorocarbon Freon Recharge (CFC)), the system is leaking. Don't add more Freon until you get the leak fixed.


  • Change your antifreeze regularly to prevent corrosion leaks in your radiator.
  • Don't drain your used antifreeze into the street. What goes into the storm drains flows directly into our surface waters.
  • Drain your used antifreeze into a drain pan. Collect the two gallons that were in your radiator plus two additional gallons of flush water. This will capture most of the metal particles (toxic to fish) that were in your radiator fluid. Take drained fluids to an HHW Disposal site.
  • Have your antifreeze changed at a garage that recycles antifreeze.


  • A simple back flushing system will allow you to flush your radiator with just water. Ask your mechanic or auto parts dealer.
  • Chemical flushes contain corrosive chemicals and may do more harm than good. They may loosen mineral deposits that have been protecting weak, corroded spots in the radiator.


  • Kerosene or diesel fuel may be adequate for your degreasing needs and is less flammable and less dangerous to store than gas; doesn't evaporate as fast as gas; recyclable.
  • Never hose down oil and grease spills. To absorb grease and oil spills on paved surfaces, sprinkle cornmeal, sawdust, cold wood ash or kitty-litter; allow to sit for several hours, then sweep into a plastic bag and place in the trash.
  • Steam clean your engine at car-washes equipped with coin-operated steam cleaning equipment.
  • Use water-based detergents or citrus-based degreasers. Avoid products which contain methylene chloride. Never use gasoline to clean auto parts. Gas contains benzene. Evaporating gas contributes to air pollution.

Grease on Hands

  • Rub greasy hands with baby oil. Then clean with soap and water.
  • Use citrus-based hand cleaners.
  • Wear gloves to keep hands clean.

Motor Oil

  • Always recycle used oil!
  • Do not use waste oil on roads to control dust. Most of that oil will end up being washed into our creeks.
  • Fix your car's oil leak yourself or get it fixed! People who would never think of pouring oil down a storm drain or into a creek, allow their car to leak oil onto the street.
  • Have your oil changed professionally. They will recycle the oil.
  • Re-refined, recycled oil is now becoming available. Ask your retailer.

Oil Filters

  • Drain filters into your used oil pan for 24 hours.
  • Place drained filter in a plastic bag and dispose of it in regular garbage service.

Transmission & Brake Fluid

  • Fix leaks.
  • Keep fluids separated, labeled and take to a transfer station or to the Roosevelt landfill.

Car Batteries

  • Clean battery terminals with a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Take spent batteries to one of the transfer stations and give them to the attendant.
  • When you buy a new battery ask the dealer about battery recycling.


  • Avoid having to dispose of old gasoline. Stored gas can go stale after six months. Stale gas can make starting an engine very difficult or even impossible. If uncontaminated, gas can be used up, a cup or so at a time, by adding to tanks of fresh gas.


  • Use up or transfer gas before storing the boat over the winter.

Lawn Mowers

  • Buy only enough gas to do the job for the next month, even 1/2 gallon at a time. Storing gas in mower can damage carburetor parts in a few months.
  • Next time, consider buying a manual push mower. There are no fuel costs, no pollution, no noise, and you get exercise!

Windshield Washer Solution

  • Commercial products contain a detergent and methanol, to prevent freezing. The alcohol contributes to air pollution and is dangerous if swallowed.
  • Do not use a vinegar mixture. It may damage the windshield washer pump.
  • In cold weather, a dilution of 3:1 (water to fluid) of the average ready-to-use commercial windshield washer fluid is adequate freeze protection down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In warm weather use plain water, or water with a touch of liquid soap.

Washing the Car

  • If you wash the car on the street, use only water. If you need to use soap (e.g. to cut grease), use one that has been shown to biodegrade quickly. Empty your bucket into a sink or toilet, not the storm drain. Whatever goes into the storm drain goes directly into surface water. Chemicals in soaps and detergents are toxic to fish and other marine life.
  • Take cars to a commercial car-wash. Their wastewater either goes to a wastewater treatment plant or is recycled at the car-wash.
  • Wash cars on your lawn or a dirt area so that water can return to the groundwater supply, not run off into the storm drain. Also, the chemicals in your soap or detergent could be filtered by the soil and biodegrade in the soil into less harmful substances.


  • To polish chrome, apply a paste of baking soda and water with a sponge or soft cloth; after a few minutes, rinse clean and dry.