GRN Recycle Talk FAQ

Date: Wed Jan 08 1997 - 05:11:00 EST

Date: Wed, 8 Jan 97 10:11 WET
Subject: Re: Recycling waste antifreeze (J deGroot)

January 8, 1997

Dear J. deGroot,

Several on-site recycling products are available in the US for antifreeze: they mostly involve filtration systems that remove particulate contamination in excess of 5 microns; after filtration a corrosion inhibior is added to restore the antifreeze for reuse; a few systems are based on distillation where ethylene glycol is separated and mixed with additives to make new antifreeze. This latter process tends to be more expensive. However, the latterr process is more reliable than is filtration recycling. Auto manufacturers recommend against use of filtration recycling, though heavy equipment manufacturers don t have the same reservations.
A study in Washington state of waste antifreeze, testing for all of the contaminants characteristic in the spent material after motor vehicle use, found, using the current standard test approved by US EPA, the TCLP (toxicity characteristic leaching procedure), that the two contaminants that made waste antifreeze consistently fail the test were benzene and tetrachloroethylene. Lead for example, was rarely a problem.
The costs associated with antifreeze recycling often have most to do with adequate insurance. There is no consistent statement that can be made that on-site recycling/treatment is less expensive than offsite recycling/treatment. It depends upon who is doing it and what their insurance policy says and covers. There are antifreeze recyclers in the US which assume insurance liability (e.g. GlyClean Distributors, NM; Preferred Reduction Services, no idea where they are located).
Costs of recycling by distillation reduce disposal costs by other means an average of 30-40% according to a study in the Journal of Air Waste Management, 4/93 p. 463+

You also ask how is antifreeze normally handled. In New England, small firms, especially motor vehicle industry-involved firms, use off-site recycling services, frequently under the same contract as their used oil recycling service. On-site treatment is usually reserved for a very large waste stream-ed firm that also has maintenance expertise on-site. However, such a shop as the New Jersey Dept. of Transportation fleet maintenance unit experienced a payback for investment in a distillation process of under 1 year. The basic source of this, Automotive and Heavy-Duty Engine Coolant Recycling by Distillation: Technology Evaluation Report by Arun R. Gavaskar, et. al. Battelle, of Columbus OH in conjunction with the US EPA s Office of Pollution Prevention, 3/92 is available through the US Dept. of Commerce s National Technical Information Service, at a cost. The document number is PB92-153444.
Another, less usual method, but one that has had a little interest in our region of the country is Mobile Process antifreeze recycling. Here, the principal issue involves storage of antifreeze, usual in underground storage tanks, and the resultant insurance costs. Companies which make mobile recycling products include Wynn Oil Co, Azusa, CA, Safety-Kleen, Elgin, IL, AFT/Prestone Recycling, Granada Hills, CA, and there are mobile incineration units made by other firms. Some companies even specialize in mobile, commercial antifreeze recycling, such as Southwest Recycling Ltd, of Calgary, Canada .

This information is brought to you by the Research Library for RCRA, US EPA-New England. Please note that we cannot send telephone or fax communications overseas.

Copyright © Global Recycling Network,