Welcome to Bay Disposal & Recycling, THE place for Hampton Roads’ eco friendly, green living, environmentally conscious residents. Every week we strive to bring you interesting, relevant, and informative topics about how we can all work together to save our beaches, communities, and planet.

Let’s Get Heroic.

At the end of each month we focus on hazardous waste disposal, and this month we’re looking at automotive fluids and how to dispose of them responsibly. Depending on your level of mechanical skills, you may or may not be aware that there are many types of fluids required for your vehicle to function. We’ll take a look at these below, and how they can be disposed of safely.

First, it is important to NEVER dispose of hazardous materials such as vehicular fluids by dumping them down a storm drain, into a septic tank, or down any of the plumbing fixtures in your home or business. Remember: it only takes one gallon of motor oil to contaminate one million gallons of groundwater.

Second, it is critical to ALWAYS read the labels of such materials for proper storage, usage, and disposal instructions. Take a look at our list below, and always take a moment to double-check if you’re not sure.

  • Brake fluid & other Solvents can be safely poured over clumping kitty litter. Wait for the mixture to dry, then dispose in the trash. Easy!
  • Power Steering fluid & Transmission fluids:

Along with nearly all petroleum-based or synthetic fluids, these are classified by the EPA as “used oil” which can be recycled or burned for energy recovery. Click Here to find a location near you.

  • Gasoline (Regular or Diesel), if too old to be used, can be disposed of at a local household waste center. Click your city to learn more: Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Hampton, in coastal Virginia. 
  • Windshield Wiper fluid
  • Antifreeze

Both wiper fluid and antifreeze should be taken to your local hazardous waste disposal center.

  • Motor Oil – when changing your oil, let it drain overnight to ensure you capture the maximum amount, keeping it from a landfill. Check with local automotive shops to find one that accepts and recycles used oils, or Click Here.
  • Car Batteries are highly recyclable. Next time you pick up a new one at the auto shop, bring in your old one with the receipt. Most places will refund you a small amount (typically $10—$20).

Remember: when in doubt, double-check the label and exercise extreme caution. The best course of action is always preventative, so take a look at the actions below and see if there are any you can implement in your own life. 

Prevent Auto Fluid Waste:

  • Properly maintain your car & all systems, so that the car and each element will last longer. In particular, suspension, alignment, and tire rotation play a key role.
  • Don’t purchase more fluid than you need—regardless of which fluid!
  • Walk, run, bike, or take public transport whenever possible

Happy Travels!