Antifreeze is a mixture of water, coolant, and additives. It is used to protect engines and other equipment against overheating and corrosion and also from freezing in low temperatures.  It is also used as a deicing agent for airplanes. The two most common coolants used in antifreeze are ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. Most antifreeze is nonhazardous and may be managed as a liquid industrial by-product

However, sometimes antifreeze becomes a hazardous waste because it contains:

  • Regulated concentrations of lead or cadmium that leached from a radiator.
  • Regulated concentrations of benzene from gasoline that leaked into the antifreeze.
  • Listed solvents from over-spraying aerosol products such as brake and carburetor cleaners that gets into the antifreeze.
  • Other hazardous wastes that were mixed with the antifreeze.

The containers must be kept closed, except to add or remove universal waste. The containers must be structurally sound, compatible with the antifreeze, and lack evidence of leakage, spillage, or damage that could cause leakage under reasonably foreseeable conditions.

Containers and tanks must be labeled with words "Universal Waste- Antifreeze," "Waste Antifreeze," or "Used Antifreeze.

Environmental Health and Safety

108 - Auxiliary Program Center
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-583-6679
Fax: 313-493-9161