How to dispose of gasoline correctly and sustainably?

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The simple answer is to take the old / used gas to a disposal site (“gas disposal near me” in Google is a good place to start).

These sites are normally:
– Recycling Facilities
– Toxic / Hazardous Waste Facilities
– Gas / Fire Stations (seldomly)

You can validate the credentials of a disposal facility by checking local authority and government websites for approval and listing. An example is the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which offers a search portal for locating and identifying hazardous waste facilities.

If your gas has not been used but it is old, check if the gas has a dark color – a dark color is an indicator that it’s no longer usable.

The environmental risks of illegally disposing used gas

Incorrectly disposing of gasoline leads to a variety of issues as a result of gas spilling into groundwater, cracks and drains. Plant and animal life are on the receiving, harmful end of these the issues these arise from contamination.

  • Flora (i.e. plant life present in a particular region) absorbs gasoline through the soil.
  • Fauna (i.e. animal life present in a particular region) that ingest gasoline are likely to face life threatening health conditions, if not death.

Plant and animal disruption affects the entire food-chain (and ecosystem), since animals that consume other animals are contaminated as a result.

In Science this process is referred to as biomagnification (“also known as bioamplification or biological magnification, is any concentration of a toxin, such as pesticides, in the tissues of tolerant organisms at successively higher levels in a food chain”, according to Wikipedia).

It is thought that approximately one gallon of gasoline has the capacity to contaminate up to 800,000 gallons of water, if incorrectly disposed of.

gas cans home

Can gasoline be poured down the drain?

In most parts of the world, pouring gasoline down the drain is illegal. As outlined in the previous two sections, there are environmental, biological and ecosystem issues and dangers that arise as a result of incorrectly disposing of gasoline.

Since everything that gets poured down the drain ends up going back into the earth’s water system, water supply pollution and contamination arises.

In the United States, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) classifies gasoline as “hazardous waste” due to two components:

Toxicity:
The propensity of a material to cause organ damage, injury, or death when an organism ingests it or is exposed to it.

Ignitability:
The propensity of a material to easily catch fire, combust, or explode even at ambient temperatures.

Instead, take the old / used gasoline to an approved disposal facility (“gas disposal near me” in Google is a good place to start).

For how long can gas be stored in a can?

Gasoline starts to degrade as a result of oxidation and evaporation after 3 – 6 months. Ethanol-based gasoline tends to degrade quicker, after 2 – 3 months. If your gas has not been used but it is old, check if the gas has a dark color – a dark color is an indicator that it’s no longer usable.

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