In New Jersey used motor oil is regulated as hazardous waste. Composed of a mixture of several hundred organic chemicals, motor oil becomes contaminated with heavy metals and chemical additives as it is used.
By law residents are required to bring their used motor oil to a used oil collection center, located at gas stations or at local and county recycling centers. Recycling motor oil not only protects the environment but conserves our already depleting oil sources.
Oil can be harmful to aquatic life from both its characteristics and the contaminants being picked up during use. It takes only 1 part per million (ppm) to make water undrinkable.
There currently is no statewide recycling or disposal program for antifreeze. But, there are a few private companies that provide one. Antifreeze is a hazardous chemical and can be toxic. Animals, both wild and domesticated, are attracted to it because of its sweet taste.
While most batteries are now being recycled, lead acid batteries are required by law to be recycled. At a minimum, stores are required to accept old batteries in exchange for the purchase of a new battery. Lead is a very toxic material. In fact, just to show how much lead there is in one battery alone, the average car battery contains 17-18 pounds of it!
Some car soaps contain phosphate, which can buildup in the environment and cause problems. Consider taking your car to a carwash that recycles its wash water. If you must clean it yourself, make sure the soap you are using does not contain phosphate and that the runoff water flows onto your lawn or gravel and not into the storm drains.
Things You Can Do
- Dispose of motor oil and other fluids at designed recycling centers
- Go to a car wash that recycles wash water
- Maintain your vehicle so toxic fluids like oil and anti-freeze don't leak
- Never dump materials down a storm drain
- When washing your car, use a low phosphate detergent and wash it over gravel or grass soil so it soaks through the soil before entering the water ways.