While we all know that driving contributes to air pollution through carbon emissions, it is important to realize that typical car maintenance has the ability to enter the storm drain system, mixing water runoff with automotive toxins like oil, grease and anti-freeze.
For all your car care, be sure to follow these safety guidelines:
- Recycle – Take your used oil and oil filters to a certified collection center or a household hazardous waste center
- Clean Up – Clean any leaks and spills with an absorbent material like kitty litter
- Buy Recycled – Whenever possible, buy recycled motor oil for your car
Anti-freeze, made from the chemical ethylene glycol, is extremely toxic. Always use caution when taking on any DIY car maintenance.
- Avoid spills – Drain your radiator into a drip pan and take the old anti-freeze in a sealed container to a household hazardous waste collection site.
- Try less toxic – Seek alternatives to conventional anti-freeze. Anti-freeze made from propylene glycol, manufacturers claim, has a lower freezing point, a higher boiling point and lasts longer.
- Leave it to a professional – Wash your vehicle at a car wash that reclaims wash water, preventing oil, grease and toxic fluids from washing into the street and the storm drain system
- Do it Yourself – Use soaps, cleaners and detergents that are labeled phosphate free or biodegradable. Safest products are vegetable based or citrus-based soaps
- Water Efficient – Choose a place where the wash water can soak into grass (then you’re knocking out two chores in one), gravel or be diverted to nearby landscaping, away from the street and storm drains