Diesel fuel is a liquid fuel commonly used in diesel engines with a fuel ignition system. The transportation industry extensively uses it as an alternative to regular gasoline. Besides this, it is often the fuel of choice for much of the construction and farming industry across the United States.
Diesel fuel is a highly valuable commodity, and while you may wonder why anyone would want to dispose of large quantities of this fuel, it happens once it passes its useful shelf life. Old diesel will be classed with other items such as used oil-based paint in solid form and more as household hazardous waste.
You can learn what to do with old diesel fuel in our guide. By the end, you’ll know much more about diesel fuel disposal, so it is good for the environment, and where can I dump gas properly rather than dumping it in the trash. (Learn How To Dispose Of Muriatic Acid)
Can You Burn Old Diesel Fuel?
Once you have diesel that you think is household hazardous waste, you may think you could burn it to get rid of it.
While a flammable liquid, Diesel burns differently from gasoline, so you can’t just ignite it. Instead, the fuel is ignited through compression in engines, so you would struggle to burn the old fuel.
Besides this, if the fuel is outside its shelf life, it won’t burn properly in an engine.
This leads to properly disposing of the fuel, or you could pass it through a Racor filter before repurposing it for other use.
Because diesel fuel is a flammable and hazardous waste, you should take a few precautions before disposing of it.
- Never dispose of it in a trash can or recycling container, or flush it down the toilet or sink.
- This can corrode your pipelines, pollute ground and drinking water, and put your waste collector’s health at risk.
- Dumping diesel fuel into a river, lake, pond, sewer, canal, or any other body of water is illegal. It’s against the law to dump it in a landfill.
- So, it could be an old vehicle with diesel fuel in the tank or an old container in your garage contaminated with water or other unknown substance; you must dispose of it as hazardous waste.
To dispose of diesel properly, follow the instructions here:
1. Know What You Have:
The first step is to know what you are dealing with. Then, to be safe, treat diesel fuel as hazardous waste.
2. Try To Use The Diesel Fuel:
If you know the diesel is clean, you can try and use it.
If it’s in a vehicle, siphon it to another container for later use.
Another vehicle, machinery, or diesel generator can use this diesel fuel to avoid wasting it.
3. See If Someone Wants It?
Check if there is anyone in your area who needs such fuel. Many people are happy to take free fuel, or you could sell it at a discount.
You could pass it on to a commercial fisherman or construction company that uses this fuel type.
4. Use Hazardous Waste Collection:
You can contact a hazardous waste collector or local recycling center in your area to dispose of diesel fuel.
Almost all local trash companies have a hazardous waste collection program, or they can point you toward collectors who can take old diesel fuel to dispose of it properly.
Note: Some collectors may charge a small disposal fee, yet this is less than the damage caused by illegal diesel fuel disposal.
5. Take It To a Fire Station:
For training, fire services may use diesel fuel to start a fire. They filter it to condition it and use it in essential training. Contact your local fire department and ask if they need any uncontaminated diesel fuel. (Learn How To Dispose Of Spoiled Milk)
6. Dispose Of At The Landfill:
Check the nearest landfill and see if they accept diesel fuel. Most landfills may take up to 5 gallons of diesel fuel in spill-proof containers marked as hazardous waste.
Like the above, hazardous waste disposal could be subject to a charge at some landfills, and again it is less than the damage caused by improper disposal.
Is Diesel Fuel Considered A Hazardous Waste?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) study found that chemical reactions and spontaneous combustion cause nearly 2000 fires in the home each year.
Oily rags soaked in hazardous waste such as diesel fuel need to be disposed of properly.
To dispose of items soaked with diesel fuel, follow these steps:
1. Arrange Items
The first step is to dry the diesel fuel items. This allows the fuel to cure fully. Spread the items outside on a non-flammable surface like concrete.
2. Dry Items Outside
Let the items dry for two days or longer, depending on how much diesel fuel was on them.
3. Dispose of Items
After drying, hand the items to hazardous waste collectors or local rubbish pickup teams as instructed.
There is another way to dispose of diesel-soaked items. It is safer and more straightforward.
4. Put Items In a Container
Place your soaked rags, or items in an empty metal container that has a tight sealing metal lid.
Step 2: Seal The Container
Submerge the items in water and close the container with the metal lid.
Step 3: Disposing of the Container
Take the container to a hazardous waste collection center or arrange for rubbish pickup.
How Long Does Red Diesel Keep?
Diesel fuel can only be stored for 6 to 12 months on average, while it can last up to a year under ideal conditions.
Stored diesel fuel should be kept cool, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and treated with biocides and stabilizers to extend its shelf life.
It’s challenging to fathom ever having to dispose of something as valuable as diesel fuel, but it happens.
It must be appropriately disposed of whether you’re trying to get rid of an old vehicle with gas remaining in the tank or an old diesel fuel container in the garage that may have been contaminated with water or some other unknown substance.
Here is more information on household hazardous waste and how you should deal with it to avoid harm or potential damage such as fires.
Hazardous Ingredients (in fuels such as diesel)
- Ethylene dichloride, methanol, petroleum,
- hydrocarbons, aliphatic hydrocarbons,
- aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, naphthalene, toluene, xylene).
- Ignitable, extremely flammable, and an explosive air pollutant.
- Benzene is a known carcinogen.
- Sparks and flames can ignite gasoline vapors.
- Gasoline under pressure in a non-venting tank or container can explode.
Handling and Use
- Avoid inhaling the vapors. Wear nitrile gloves when handling gasoline, and thoroughly wash your hands afterward and before eating.
- Never use gasoline as a cleaning solvent or mix it with waste oil or other motor products.
- To avoid carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide poisoning, use kerosene heaters only in well-ventilated spaces.
- In kerosene space heaters, use low-sulfur 1-K grade fuel. Never use home heating oil or other fuels.
- Only use self-venting containers and tanks approved by a nationally recognized organization.
- Keep away from direct sunlight and away from living spaces.
- Store on the ground rather than on a shelf. In the summer, temperatures on shelves get higher resulting in a dangerous pressure level in the container.
- Store away from a furnace, in the trunk of a car, or a basement.
- Use as engine fuel if possible. Using a paint filter, siphon pump and filter the old gasoline, dilute by half with fresh fuel, and use in your lawnmower or truck-mounted generator.
- Take it to a hazardous waste diesel fuel recycling facility or a collection event as a backup.
- Fuels must be kept in tightly sealed containers. The consumer cannot return certain containers, including gas cans.
- Dumping gasoline or oil into sewers, storm drains, or any body of water is improper disposal and illegal.
Alternatives To Fuels
- Use a non-toxic, citrus-based degreaser to remove grease or dirty oil from auto parts.
- Consider using an electric or push lawn mower and electric power tools.
How Do I Dispose Of Diesel UK?
Make an appointment with a local garage, and they will properly dispose of it in a container they use for similar mixes from cars for a nominal fee.
Don’t bring it to an oil bank; they only accept used engine oil.
Potential Household Hazardous Material
Look for phrases like poison, danger, warning, caution, or flammable on the product label to detect potentially hazardous products. (Learn How To Fix Yellow Flame On Gas Burner)
Most hazardous waste in the home comes from one of the following categories and comprises things you don’t just toss in the garbage.
- Automotive Products: Oil, Antifreeze, Gasoline, Brake, and Transmission Fluid
- Household Cleaners: Oven cleaners, Drain cleaners, Disinfectants, Old laundry products
- Paints and Solvents: latex and oil-based paint, thinners, varnishes, wood preservatives
Recycling, Garbage & Yard Waste will often have their own garbage or trash container (gray) for good to be disposed of.
- Food contaminated items
- Hazardous material and motor oil bottles
- Motor Oil (Place in a marked, unbreakable container with a screw-top lid. Add Engine Oil as they often won’t take mixed car oil types)
How to Recycle Diesel Fuel
Many farms and construction businesses overbuy excess fuel, which, when stored, degrades with time.
You might benefit from reconditioning or purifying old diesel fuel with additives. You will save a significant amount of money that would otherwise be spent on new fuel.
Instead of disposing of old diesel fuel. Follow the directions here to recondition it and make it safe to use:
1. Transfer Diesel Fuel Into Drums.
- Fill a gallon drum with old diesel fuel from your vehicle, equipment, or tank.
- Working with over 50 gallons of diesel at a time can make the operation more difficult.
- Before you begin, make sure you have a 50-gallon drum on hand.
2. Add PRD-D or Ether to Your Mix
- Using a graduated cylinder, add 3.125 oz. PRD-D or 280 oz. Ether to the 50-gallon drum.
- PRD-D and ether are diesel additives that increase diesel fuel system performance, enhance ignition, and lower pollutants.
3. Fill Fuel Storage with Fuel Re-Conditioner. (Optional)
You won’t need a gallon drum if you already know how much diesel fuel you have in your tank or container.
- Add a tiny amount of PRD-D or ether.
- The ratio is 0.0625 oz. PRD-D or 5.6 oz. Ether per gallon of old diesel fuel.
4. Let Diesel Fuel Rest.
Allow a day or longer for the old diesel fuel to sit in the gallon drum so the fuel is thoroughly reconditioned, and the chemicals and additives are infused as if it was from the pump at the station.