Antifreeze Recycling FAQ

Why should I recycle antifreeze?

What recycling process is used at the EET Antifreeze Recycling Facility?

What laws govern the disposal of used antifreeze?

Are all recycled antifreezes basically the same?

Are all recycled antifreezes as good as antifreezes made from virgin materials?

How can I tell if the recycled antifreeze I purchase is equivalent to (as good as) antifreeze made from virgin materials?

I have heard that some antifreeze recycling processes don’t remove chlorides. Is this true? Don’t antifreezes with chlorides pose a corrosion problem for my cooling system?

What is upcycling?

What is downcycling?

Why should I recycle antifreeze?

Recycling reduces the consumption of oil and natural gas used to manufacture the active ingredients in most antifreeze: ethylene and propylene glycol.

It is environmentally responsible to recycle and reuse our natural resources whenever possible.

Recycling significantly reduces the amount of antifreeze being discarded into the environment where it can threaten local water quality and ecosystems.

Properly recycled antifreeze is both high quality and low cost. Recycling also exempts businesses from burdensome environmental regulations that may require used antifreeze to be treated as a hazardous waste.

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What recycling process is used at the EET Antifreeze Recycling Facility?

Used antifreeze is recycled through EET's patented multistage electro-physicochemical process that produces virgin quality products.

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What laws govern the disposal of used antifreeze?

The EPA, state, and local environmental agencies regulate a number of vehicular related waste streams including spent antifreeze. Used antifreeze has the potential to be a hazardous waste if lead content exceeds 5 parts per million.

Most states have regulations for the management and disposal of waste antifreeze, regardless of whether it is a hazardous waste. These regulations vary by state. Please contact the appropriate agency in your state for more information.

The federal government has enacted a number of environmental laws to protect the environment including The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) and The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Under the CERCLA regulations, spills of even small amounts of listed materials are reportable to local, state, and federal agencies. Ethylene glycol is regulated as a toxic material.

Call the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 for information on determining if your antifreeze is hazardous.

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Are all recycled antifreezes basically the same?

No. Not all recycled antifreeze is created equal. Many/most recycling methods do not remove harmful contaminants such as soluble salts. Commonly used recycling processes such as filtration, chemical filtration, chemical filtration/oxidation, and centrifugal separation/filtration can remove large particulate but not dissolved salts.

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Are all recycled antifreezes as good as antifreezes made from virgin materials?

No. Very few recyclers are capable of producing antifreeze products that compare favorably to the virgin (non-recycled) counterparts. Desalting technologies such as membrane separation, ion exchange, distillation, or combinations of these techniques must be used to remove all of the aqueous salts (dissolved solids) from the used engine coolant. These advanced methods are used at large fixed sites and with sound design and responsible operation can produce antifreeze products that compare favorably with new (virgin) antifreeze/coolant formulated with the same corrosion inhibitor additive technology. Monitoring process performance and product quality requires a fully equipped analytical laboratory, as is used to provide a certificate of chemical analysis for each batch of Arctic Blend® antifreeze.

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How can I tell if the recycled antifreeze I purchase is equivalent to (as good as) antifreeze made from virgin materials?

Make sure that the recycler uses OEM approved technologies and has a fully equipped on-site laboratory to monitor the process and provide a certificate of analysis for each batch like EET. Also, it is prudent to request documented performance results. Verify the quality by occasionally sending a sample of the recycled product to a recognized third party analytical laboratory with experience testing antifreeze products.

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I have heard that some antifreeze recycling processes don’t remove chlorides. Is this true? Don’t antifreezes with chlorides pose a corrosion problem for my cooling system?

Filtration alone will not remove chlorides from used antifreeze. Additional processes, such as those used by EET for its Arctic Blend® antifreeze, are required to remove chlorides from used antifreeze. Chlorides, which are especially aggressive toward aluminum and can attack copper as well, and are leading contaminants for causing corrosion of cooling systems.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is a relatively new term describing the preferred way for recycling materials. When the product(s) of recycling are as good or better quality than the original product, it is considered an upcycled product. EET’s Arctic Blend® recycled antifreeze products are aptly referred to as upcycled, as they meet, and often beat, the internationally recognized standards for antifreeze made from virgin materials.

Each batch of Arctic Blend® antifreeze is tested for conformance to specifications. The results of these tests are documented in a Certificate of Compliance and provided with each shipment. In addition, EET’s antifreeze recycling systems, when operated according to procedure, are designed to produce upcycled antifreeze products.

What is downcycling?

Downcycling means recycling where the recycled product loses quality characteristics. Most antifreeze recyclers in the USA utilize processes that result in a product of lesser quality than antifreeze products made from virgin antifreeze. These downcycled antifreeze products are typically low-priced, as the recyclers processing steps are minimal and low cost. While these downcycled antifreeze products often look good (removal of suspended solids and the addition of dye can make the product appear like new), the chemistry is often not in conformance with recognized standards nor OEM requirements.

Another example of downcycling is recycling paper. Often, the color and texture of recycled paper is not as good as paper made from wood pulp, even though it is usually more expensive.

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  Contact EET for more information about our antifreeze recycling services.
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