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.
Always use caution when taking on any car maintenance yourself. For all your car care, be sure to follow these safety guidelines:
Seek Eco-Friendly Products:
- Buy Recycled – Whenever possible, buy recycled motor oil for your car.
Try Less Toxic – Seek alternatives to conventional anti-freeze, which is made from the extremely toxic chemical ethylene glycol. Anti-freeze made from propylene glycol has a lower freezing point, a higher boiling point, and lasts longer.
Clean Up Responsibly:
Avoid Spills – Drain your radiator into a drip pan to prevent spilling into the street and into the storm drain.
Dispose Properly – Take your used oil, oil filters, and anti-freeze to your local hazardous waste collection center.
- Clean Up – Clean any leaks and spills with an absorbent material like kitty litter.
Dirty Car? Consider Your Options:
If going to a car wash…
– Wash your vehicle at a car wash that reclaims wash water. This will prevent oil, grease and toxic fluids from washing into the street and the storm drain system.
If you’re going to do it yourself…
– Use soaps, cleaners and detergents that are labeled phosphate-free or biodegradable. Safest products are vegetable based or citrus-based soaps.
– Wash your car where the water can soak into grass or gravel or can be diverted to nearby landscaping, away from the street and storm drains.