Kerosene falls in the category of hazardous waste so no matter how much you’re tempted to discard unwanted kerosene by pouring it down the drain or in a sewer outside, you must not do so.
It poses a great environmental hazard and can cause a number of problems.
In this article, we will give a round-up on how you can dispose of kerosene safely and why it’s important to do so.
What is Kerosene?
Kerosene is a thin, clear, and flammable hydrocarbon liquid fuel extracted from a mixture of petroleum chemicals found deep within the earth.
It is obtained as a petroleum byproduct of oil refineries. Before electric lights and lamps became popular, kerosene was a widely used fuel for oil lamps. It is still used to power oil lamps in some parts of the world.
Today, kerosene is primarily used as heating oil (in kerosene-powered heaters), as a fuel in jet engines, and as a solvent in manufacturing insecticide sprays.
It is also used in the entertainment and fireworks industry and as a low-cost cleaning agent for removing grease.
How to Dispose of Kerosene Safely
If you have excess kerosene that needs to be discarded, never pour it down your drain or local sewer. Similarly, you cannot throw kerosene bottles in the garbage or recyclable waste.
Instead, you need to take it to a local waste collection facility.
Here are some of the ways you can safely dispose of kerosene.
Search for a Local Hazardous Waste Collection Site and Hand It Over to Them
When you decide you have to dispose of unwanted kerosene, you need to look up the nearest household hazardous waste collection site provided by your local waste district.
You can search for it online or find it in the yellow pages.
You should first contact the service to confirm if they accept kerosene and if they do, ask them if you will need to drop it off yourself or they can pick it up from your location.
Also, check if there is any disposal fee. Once all details have been obtained, you can follow the required steps and hand it over to them.
Make Use of Community Hazardous Waste Collection Days
In many areas, local waste collection authorities allocate certain days for the collection of household hazardous waste.
This is a great way to manage hazardous household waste and keep it from entering the landfills or sewage water.
You can go online to find out the details such as the date, timings, material that they are accepting, and drop off locations.
Look for the nearest location and take advantage of these collection days to manage your household hazardous waste such as kerosene without harming the environment.
Check If a Local Gas Station Accepts Unwanted Kerosene
Most gas stations accept unwanted motor oil and some may also accept kerosene.
If you find a station that does accept kerosene, you can deliver your unwanted kerosene to them, keeping in mind to label the container properly so that it is not confused with any other fuel or oil.
What to Do if You Can’t Find any Local Hazardous Waste Collection Agency
In case you cannot find a hazardous waste collection site near your location, you can always contact your local fire department, police station, or government office to ask for assistance.
They will be able to guide you on what you can do to safely dispose of kerosene. Some fire stations may even accept unwanted kerosene.
In case you have excess kerosene and don’t know what to do with it, you can ask your friends, relatives, neighbors, or a local charity if they need any kerosene.
It’s always better to use the product rather than having to dispose of it or before it goes bad and you have no other option but to discard it.
Why It’s Necessary to Handle and Dispose of Kerosene Oil Safely
While kerosene is a useful lighting and heating fuel and has a number of applications, you also need to keep in mind its hazards.
It’s a highly inflammable liquid that’s also toxic for the environment. Here are a few things you should know when handling and disposing of kerosene.
- Always store kerosene oil properly. You can read the storage instructions that are provided on packaging labels. In general, it needs to be stored in an approved container and the container should always be covered (by tightly securing the lids) when the product is not being used. You also need to store it at room temperature and away from humidity. The containers must be labeled properly so that there is no confusion about its contents.
- Kerosene bottles and containers should be stored away from kids and pets.
- Since it is highly inflammable, it should be kept away from potential heat sources like hot water heaters, furnaces, ignition sources, gas supplies, etc. Also, keep it away from direct sun exposure. This will keep you and your family members safe in case an accidental spill occurs.
- Avoid storing kerosene for longer than three months as the fuel can decompose leading to bacterial and mold growth. It’s best to buy it in small quantities whenever you need it so that all of it gets used. If any of it remains, you should either donate it or dispose of it safely. In case you have leftover kerosene for a few months, you must dispose of it.
- Never mix any other products with kerosene or use kerosene containers to store any other material as this may result in dangerous chemical reactions.
Why You Should Never Throw Kerosene in the Garbage or Pour It Down the Drain
Kerosene is categorized as hazardous waste and should never be treated like regular household trash.
Pouring down kerosene into drains or flushing it can kill beneficial microorganisms present in wastewater and disrupt waste-water management systems.
Moreover, it can accumulate in drain pipes and cause clogging.
Not just that, kerosene remains unchanged during sewage treatment and can end up contaminating rivers, lakes, and streams. This is also a huge threat to aquatic life present in these water bodies.
Similarly, throwing away kerosene in public trash cans is highly unsafe.
Being an inflammable substance, it can cause fire, explosion, and give off toxic fumes. Sanitation workers, janitors, and waste collection units can suffer from a lot of damage due to this problem.
Burying kerosene in the ground is also a harmful practice as the liquid leaches through the soil leading to contamination of both soil and water.
Burning it off again releases poisonous fumes in the air and causes air pollution. Only trained professionals can burn the oil in the right way ensuring that people aren’t harmed due to the hazardous fumes.
To Sum Up
Kerosene oil has a number of household uses but it must be handled carefully due to its highly inflammable and toxic nature.
Moreover, you have to follow local guidelines in order to dispose of this liquid in a safe manner so that no harm is caused to people, animals, and the overall environment.
We hope that the information in this article helped you understand the right way to dispose of kerosene.
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