When you winterize your RV, you most likely add antifreeze to help keep things like the plumbing from freezing up. This is just part of the winterizing process. However, then when you are ready to pull out the RV in the springtime, it means you need to de-winterize to prepare your RV for use.
Most people wait until there will be no more freezing temperatures before they pull their RV out for the spring and summer months. One part of de-winterizing and getting the RV ready to take out to use is flushing out the antifreeze. Is it ok to just dump the antifreeze on the ground?
While you technically CAN dump the antifreeze on the ground when you flush your RV, it doesn’t mean that you should. Antifreeze is a chemical substance and it should be disposed of properly, which does not mean just dumping it in the dirt. The local government may have disposal recommendations or requirements.
When it comes time to dispose of antifreeze from the RV, there are a few different options. In this case, you might be able to reuse or even recycle the antifreeze. If neither of those appeals to you, disposal is the next step.
Check out these tips for ways to dump or dispose of your antifreeze.
Dumping Antifreeze on the Ground is a Bad Idea
Dumping your antifreeze on the ground is simply a terrible idea. While there are some types of antifreeze that are made to be biodegradable or non-toxic, it doesn’t just automatically make these substances safe for the ground or for the environment.
Dumping this type of chemical on the ground could potentially be harmful to the environment. If everyone just dumps their antifreeze on the ground, this could lead to bigger problems.
Some antifreeze contains ethanol or propylene and this is considered toxic. Regardless, this is a chemical and we simply shouldn’t make it a habit of dumping chemicals onto the ground.
On top of that, antifreeze is usually flammable. Dumping it on the ground and leaving it exposed could be a potential fire hazard as well and none of us want that problem!
Here are some of the negative effects of dumping antifreeze on the ground.
When you dump a liquid material on the ground, it seeps into the ground. When it seeps into the ground, it eventually reaches the groundwater source. It might also simply travel to the nearest groundwater source.
While you might think you’re not close enough to affect a water source, you are probably wrong. This can lead to contaminated water sources which will affect humans but it can also affect the fish and marine life or animals that rely on that water as well.
The ground relies on permafrost and the melting of permafrost. It also relies on permafrost to be frozen when it should be.
Antifreeze is called such because it produces the opposite effect. This means it could be causing permafrost and frozen ground that is meant to be frozen to thaw or melt when it isn’t supposed to.
Antifreeze can cause a lot of environmental issues. This relates back to wild animals getting into the antifreeze but it can also be harmful to plants, grass, and trees and cause cellular death to those things as well.
Can You Dump Antifreeze Down the Drain?
Some people avoid dumping antifreeze on the ground and simply just rinse it down a drain. Here’s the thing, antifreeze probably won’t harm your drain but it could lead to other issues. That antifreeze has to go somewhere when it travels down the drain.
It will run through your sewer system and eventually into a much larger system. Antifreeze has a distinct scent and flavor to it. Since it tends to be “sweet”, it actually attracts wild animals to it.
When those animals are attracted to it, they will drink whatever is holding the antifreeze if they can get to it.
Unfortunately, antifreeze is toxic to animals regardless of whether it is non-toxic and that could present all sorts of issues for those poor animals.
While there is nothing saying you can’t dump your antifreeze down the drain, it’s simply not a good idea.
The Proper Way to Dispose of Antifreeze
Ultimately, when you are ready to dispose of antifreeze, you can either reuse it or you can recycle it. You can also be proactive and try to reduce how much antifreeze that you use.
Many local automotive places have the ability and resources to recycle your antifreeze. In some cases, it might actually still be good to use again for certain needs.
The best way to recycle your antifreeze is to use it in a vehicle that needs it. You will want to make sure that this antifreeze is compatible with the vehicle in order to do so. You may be able to store it away to winterize again the next year as well.
If you’re unsure, try to find a facility nearby that can take the antifreeze off of your hands and recycle it for you. These facilities often have the resources available to properly dispose of the antifreeze if they are not able to recycle or reuse the antifreeze at their facility.
This at least gets the antifreeze out of your hands and you can rest assured they will either reuse it or be able to dispose of it safely and appropriately.
Disposal of Antifreeze
If you want to dispose of antifreeze on your own, we recommend checking into the government recommendations for doing so. The EPA has certain recommendations but your local government most likely has specific rules and requirements for disposal.
They might have specific points where you can take antifreeze and release it to the right personnel for disposal. They also might have specific disposal methods and sites for you to handle the disposal properly.
Always be sure to follow the local guidelines as there are typically fines associated with inappropriate dumping of these types of products.
You should never dump your antifreeze on the ground. There are many other solutions for disposing of antifreeze properly and it’s pretty easy to find out what they are if you’re willing to do a little bit of checking around.