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#1922384 - 06/14/10 02:11 AM Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid
santov Offline


Registered: 05/22/10
Posts: 178
Loc: San Jose, CA
I've searched the forum and I know the answer varies greatly county to county and state to state.

My local garbage service also picks up our household recyclable mateial. They're willing to pick up 1 gallon jug of used motor oil and 2 oil filters each week. Lucky the drivers I have are nice enough to replace with an empty jug everytime I put out a full one. I left out a full jug of Mopar ATF and they didn't take it. I suspect it was the label on the bottle.

The county does have household cleanups scheduled every few months. They have a drop off station where the workers wear hazard suits and full face masks and take used paint and other chemicals as though it was radioactive. My dad did drop off a nasty fungicide once, so I understand the safety protocols. But I suspect these stations treat everything they take as hazardous waste since the lot was filled with black 55 gallon drums. I doubt, but not sure, they attempt to visually identify the fluids nor make any attempt to recycle automotive fluids.

I much rather mix in used ATF, brake fluid, and power steering fluid in with used motor oil so the recyclers take it. I was going to try this at Kragen's, but they pour the fluid out and give back the empty container, where as the garbage service takes the whole bottle. Kragen's suggested taking "other" automotive fluids to the county clean up.

Am I wrecking whole batches of used motor oil by doing this? I'm looking for the most enviro friendly way of getting rid of these fluids. I doubt the county hazard collections are making any attempt to recycle them, and nobody else will take these fluids.

Any industry insiders know what the impact of "other" fluids are to motor oil recyclers. I do NOT mix coolant/anti-freeze in as I know that stuff doesn't mix with anything.

Thanks!
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2012 PriusV(an)
2005 Infiniti FX35 - 132k miles, no probs!

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#1922388 - 06/14/10 02:42 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: santov]
willix Offline


Registered: 12/16/09
Posts: 1889
Loc: minneapolis mn
Our recycler who sucked a 1000 gal. underground tank says the only thing that harms the drain oil is carb cleaners & those type of harsh solvents. As far as I know brake fluid would rarely make it down the drain but ATF & hydraulic fluids were common if not 50% of the drain oil salvaged. I am unfamiliar with the processes that happen but I believe the recycle oil is primarily used for oil burner heaters.
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#1922389 - 06/14/10 02:42 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: santov]
Billbert Offline


Registered: 10/09/09
Posts: 259
Loc: California
ATF, pow steering fluid, gear lube and motor oil are all OK together. No coolant or brake fluid.
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#1922407 - 06/14/10 03:51 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: Billbert]
Johnny Offline


Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 14013
Loc: Retired | Wausau, WI
Agree with Billbert's answer. Not sure what brake fluid does mixed with oil but I have had three different recyclers tell me and customers of mine do not put brake fluid in the waste oil tank. Not sure what it does, maybe either Molakule or TomNJ could tell us.

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#1922411 - 06/14/10 04:13 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: Johnny]
RoGuE Offline


Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 554
Loc: Atlanta, GA
So dumping used ATF and gear oil in the tank at Autozone is fine? I have a huge collection of those in my garage I need to get rid of.
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#1922413 - 06/14/10 04:17 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: RoGuE]
Johnny Offline


Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 14013
Loc: Retired | Wausau, WI
It is unless the idiots at your Autozone don't know what they are talking about.

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#1922443 - 06/14/10 06:19 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: Johnny]
Bluestream Offline


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 4119
Loc: Waterloo, ON
I was told by local oil recycler (Safty-Kleen) I can mix anything together except coolant. Local garbage also picks up 4 liter jugs as long as its in a "motor oil" jug. New guys often leave it behind and I have to call in to get a notice send out. Next week it usually goes.
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#1922456 - 06/14/10 06:45 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: Bluestream]
David S. Offline


Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 208
Loc: North America
http://www.sjrecycles.org/residents/rec_garb.asp#oil

Quote:
Used Motor Oil & Filters

To recycle used motor oil and oil filters at curbside, you must use free City-issued oil jugs and filter bags which are designed to prevent leaks. Place filled oil jugs and filter bags on the curb near your recycling cart for collection. To order the free oil jugs and filter bags, call your recycling hauler.

After collecting your used motor oil or oil filter bags, the driver will leave a replacement for what is collected. For example, if one oil jug is picked up, then one empty oil jug is left in exchange (up to a maximum of four one-gallon jugs). If one oil filter bag is collected, then one empty filter bag is left in exchange (up to a maximum of two oil filter bags). Remember: oil mixed with antifreeze, transmission fluid, or any other automotive fluid will NOT be collected. For safe disposal of other automotive fluids, contact the Santa Clara Countywide Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program at (408) 299-7300 to schedule a free appointment.

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#1922520 - 06/14/10 08:17 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: David S.]
440Magnum Offline


Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 6475
Loc: Texas
Engine oil, ATF, gear oil, and PS fluid are all fine mixed together- they're all hydrocarbons of about the same weight and origin, and they recycle together just fine.

Coolant is obviously forbidden, and so is brake fluid although a lot of places will (randomly) tell you that its OK or that ATF is not allowed. A lot of education still has to be done on this- as the the San Jose website proves... even (especially?) governments don't understand the chemistry.
_________________________
'66 Dodge Polara & '69 Dodge Coronet R/T both 440/727
'08 Ram 1500 4.7/545RFE
'12 Challenger SRT8 392/6-speed
'99 Cherokee 4.0, '11 Grand Cherokee 3.6

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#1922527 - 06/14/10 08:24 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: Johnny]
440Magnum Offline


Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 6475
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Johnny
Agree with Billbert's answer. Not sure what brake fluid does mixed with oil but I have had three different recyclers tell me and customers of mine do not put brake fluid in the waste oil tank. Not sure what it does, maybe either Molakule or TomNJ could tell us.


I don't know exactly what it does once mixed, but DOT III and DOT IV brake fluids are glycols- more closely related to antifreeze base fluids than they are to oils.
_________________________
'66 Dodge Polara & '69 Dodge Coronet R/T both 440/727
'08 Ram 1500 4.7/545RFE
'12 Challenger SRT8 392/6-speed
'99 Cherokee 4.0, '11 Grand Cherokee 3.6

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#1922547 - 06/14/10 08:42 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: 440Magnum]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 24664
Loc: ME
There could be political reason they only take motor oil and not ATF. Especially if they have to pay by the gallon for disposal, and only accept "household motor oil" to appease some greenie.

I would just make sure my mix doesn't mess up the machinery, and cut ATF with some tarry black motor oil to hide the color.

My dump requires "clear containers" per ordinance but realistically takes 5 quart oil bottles as well. Naturally I'd put the ATF in a motor oil bottle, and oil in a clear one, for a compliant looking drop off. wink

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#1922551 - 06/14/10 08:46 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: eljefino]
Colt45ws Offline


Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 7517
Loc: Central Washington
Everything goes in one jug, except coolant, then I take it to walmart and forge some name from a random webcomic on the log then dump it in the tank.
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2004 Ford Crown Vic LX, 81k "Tank"
2002 Ford Crown Vic PI, 162k "Highwayman" (Ex-Kootenai County, ID Unit #42)

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#1922646 - 06/14/10 10:24 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: 440Magnum]
santov Offline


Registered: 05/22/10
Posts: 178
Loc: San Jose, CA
Quote:
I don't know exactly what it does once mixed, but DOT III and DOT IV brake fluids are glycols- more closely related to antifreeze base fluids than they are to oils.


If they're glycols can power steering fluid go down the toilet to act as food for the sewer system? Just like coolant/anti-freeze. Why did they switch to glycols when they used to be ATF?


Edited by santov (06/14/10 10:24 AM)

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#1922741 - 06/14/10 11:30 AM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: santov]
RiverWolf Offline


Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 47
Loc: Wilmington, NC
My local Advance Auto has it labeled on the tank and log form as accepting brake fluid, along with the typical oil/trans fluids...can't remember if PS is listed, but can't imagine it's not. They've recently added a tank for coolant and a filter crusher as well...woohoo.

-Brent
_________________________
2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4x4 V8
2006 Honda CR-V EX AWD
2005 BMW 330Cic ZHP

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#1922842 - 06/14/10 01:06 PM Re: Recycling used ATF, brake and power steering fluid [Re: santov]
440Magnum Offline


Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 6475
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: santov
Quote:
I don't know exactly what it does once mixed, but DOT III and DOT IV brake fluids are glycols- more closely related to antifreeze base fluids than they are to oils.


If they're glycols can power steering fluid go down the toilet to act as food for the sewer system? Just like coolant/anti-freeze. Why did they switch to glycols when they used to be ATF?


PS fluid is petroleum (or synthetic oil) based. Its brake fluid that is, and has always been, glycol based.

Don't know if they're safe to flush or not.
_________________________
'66 Dodge Polara & '69 Dodge Coronet R/T both 440/727
'08 Ram 1500 4.7/545RFE
'12 Challenger SRT8 392/6-speed
'99 Cherokee 4.0, '11 Grand Cherokee 3.6

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