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How to dispose of kerosene? [Household & Industrial]

Kerosene has been used as an effective and eco-friendly alternative to candles and other flame-based lighting solutions since the 19th century. This impressive fuel has not lost its usage with time. In many parts of the world, it is still used to heat homes as fuel for kerosene heaters. However, many people have no idea how to dispose of it properly when it’s no longer needed. If not disposed of correctly, kerosene can harm the environment and even humans through combustion byproducts. 

So, do you know what to do with excessive kerosene that you are left with after using?

The best way to dispose of kerosene is to take it to a household hazardous waste (HHW) facility. They know how to discard dangerous chemicals appropriately. You can also give it away to machine shops that use kerosene to clean their equipment.

This article will show the correct ways to discard kerosene. These tips will help you have peace of mind knowing that you have gotten rid of this hazardous liquid without adverse effects on the environment or public health.

A jar of kerosene

I am also sharing tips, so you are not left with any kerosene that needs to be discarded. So keep reading!

What is kerosene?

Kerosene is a petroleum-based fuel that is highly flammable and hazardous if not handled with care. It’s primarily used for heating and lighting, but it can also be used as an engine fuel in many industries. Another important use of kerosene is as a cleaning agent. Kerosene may be referred to by other names, including lamp oil, coal oil, and stove oil. However, these fuels are types of kerosene; they’re not entirely different products.

It is essential to mention that kerosene loses its quality and goes bad over time because condensation introduces water into a kerosene container. Moreover, bacteria and mold also cause kerosene to break down and transform into sludge, rendering it useless.

And even though your kerosene has gone bad, never throw it away in the garbage or dispose of it in your sink drain!

Why does kerosene need to be disposed of properly?

While kerosene is considered non-toxic and safe to use indoors (as long as you have adequate ventilation), it is never a good idea to pour it down a drain. Kerosene tends to clog your home drains. But this is not the only reason!

Water treatment plants cannot treat the kerosene that finds its way into the water bodies through the sewage system. It means pouring kerosene in the drain will eventually make aquatic animals sick and damage the ecosystem

In addition, you cannot throw kerosene in your regular trash as federal and state laws prohibit the throwing of hazardous chemicals in your garbage. The reason is, kerosene will end up in landfills, posing a threat to the environment, wild animals, and public health

How to dispose of kerosene?

Kerosene is used as a fuel and is highly flammable, making it a hazardous waste. Improperly disposing of kerosene can have drastic implications for animal and human health, so we must dispose of it according to state laws. 

There are different methods of disposing of household and industrial waste of kerosene. Let’s have a look at both.

How to dispose of kerosene in households?

Households don’t have a massive quantity of leftover kerosene, so it is easier to dispose of than industrial kerosene waste. You can use one of these disposal methods according to your location. 

Use household hazardous waste facility

City residents can easily discard hazardous chemicals by dropping them securely to a household hazardous waste (HHW) facility. If you are in a city, you have to find such a facility that can dispose of kerosene. 

First, you have to search for an HHW facility in your area. To do so, use Earth911 Recycling Search online. Enter HHW and your area zip code to find a nearby facility. Many city websites can also guide you on how to get in touch with such facilities. These hazardous waste facilities are open the whole year in many cities, so drop off your waste at these facilities.

Contact local waste management authority

If you live in a remote or rural area, you can try one of the options discussed below.

Start by calling your local waste management authority and checking with them. If it lets you bring your leftover kerosene, it’s all good. If the administration cannot take your waste for any reason, they can advise you on the other options available to safely get rid of your kerosene.

Drop off at periodic hazardous waste collection event

Most rural areas do not have an HHW facility. The authorities run periodic events to collect hazardous or flammable chemicals for safe disposal. Look out for such events if you have any unused kerosene sitting in your house. You can contact local authorities to get information about the dates and venue of the collection event. It’s better to wait for this event instead of resorting to improper ways to get rid of your leftover kerosene.

Give Away To repair garages and gas stations

It is a very clever option that works most of the time. You can visit local motor repair garages or gas stations to ask for their help. More often than not, these businesses can agree to dispose of such wastes for you. Many machine shops that use kerosene as a cleaning agent may also decide to take your waste off your hands. 

Just ensure that you drop off the kerosene waste in a proper container for the safety of everyone involved.

Use evaporation to dispose of kerosene

In some absolute rare cases, when you couldn’t find a proper way to waste kerosene, you can try the evaporation method. Experts do not recommend it, so use it only as a last resort. Keep in mind that you can use evaporation for small quantities of kerosene. Large amounts cannot and should not be disposed of using this method. However, this method is still better than pouring kerosene down the drain!

When kept in an open container, it can easily evaporate into vapor. To dispose of kerosene through evaporation, take the lid off and leave the container in the open air away. Try not to breathe into it and also keep pets and children away from it. Cover the container with grate or wire gauze so nothing can fall into it, but air can flow through it. When kerosene evaporates, put the empty container in a plastic bag. Wrap it again and throw it in the garbage.

How to dispose of kerosene at the industrial level?

Finding a disposal facility for kerosene at the industrial level is more challenging. It is not surprising that household hazardous facilities will not accept industrial quantities of kerosene waste as they can’t handle large amounts of dangerous chemicals.

Contact local general waste disposal company

If you are a business that needs to dispose of kerosene, you need to contact your local waste disposal company (the one who collects your garbage) and see if they can dispose of this waste for you. If they agree, the next thing is to confirm if they will be picking the waste from your site or you need to drop it off at their facility. If not, then ask them to direct you to any other company that can handle your kerosene disposal for you.

Search for local hazardous waste management resources

These general waste companies won’t accept your hazardous waste in most instances. In that case, search for hazardous waste management resources in your specific area. Many such companies will dispose of your kerosene for some fees. So, try one of these ways to get rid of it properly and fulfill your duty as a responsible citizen.

Tips to save you from disposing of kerosene

Before you go and start looking for a disposal method of kerosene, try these simple tactics, so you don’t have any leftover kerosene, to begin with. You can altogether avoid the hassle of discarding it if any one of these tips works for you!

Buy only what you need

When buying kerosene for any use or cleaning project, buy according to your requirement. This way, you will be able to use all the quantities, and nothing will be left to discard after you are done. Big bottles may only seem cost-efficient, but they are not really. You will have to waste the leftover or give them away for free, so don’t waste your money by buying bulk quantities when you only need a little.

Use up all the quantity

It’s the best practice! Finish up all of the kerosene so you don’t have any quantity left for disposal. If you know that you will need kerosene in the future, it’s best to buy fresh when it arrives as kerosene can go bad if not used within some specific time.

Give away any excess kerosene

You can always give away any excessive kerosene to anyone who needs it. Ask family or friends and give them any leftover kerosene that you no longer need. You can also donate to your local scouts and charities that regularly use kerosene. It will not only make you feel good but also save you from the trouble of finding and dropping unused kerosene at a hazardous chemical facility for safe disposal. 

How to store leftover kerosene if you need to use it again shortly?

Instead of disposing of it, sometimes you will need to store kerosene if you need it again within three months. Storing a hazardous chemical is as essential as disposing of it. Properly keeping kerosene is crucial as it prevents accidents or mixing kerosene with other chemicals. Adhere to the following tips when storing kerosene:

Step 1: Store In a safe container

Find out your state laws for the safe storage of kerosene. Ideally, it would be best if you only stored it in its original container so it is easily identifiable. If you need to transfer it to another container for any reason, use an approved container for storing this flammable liquid. Using any other thing to hold it can be hazardous.

Steo 2: Label the container

Federal and state authorities require you to label kerosene clearly. Look for your state’s labeling requirements and label them properly to avoid confusion or mishandling.

Step 3: Store the container in a safe place

Kerosene is flammable so take extra caution. Store it at room temperature, away from heat sources and hot surfaces. It includes sunlight, heaters, furnaces or stoves, etc., posing a potential fire hazard. 

Don’t keep it for more than three months

Always purchase high-quality kerosene and don’t store it for over three months. The reason is that bacteria and mold can start developing in the container after this time, making kerosene unfit for use. If you have kerosene sitting in your store for a long time, it is best to dispose of it properly.

Wrap up

Kerosene is used for many purposes around your home. It’s essential to handle it properly and make sure you know how to dispose of it safely once you’re done with it. As with any flammable liquid, it’s essential to dispose of kerosene safely through proper channels. Make sure you dispose of any unused kerosene properly. Never pour it down a drain or into the water, as doing so can contaminate our waters. Instead, use appropriate resources to dispose of kerosene according to your convenience and situation safely. Find one that best suits your requirements.

Moreover, it’s crucial to store kerosene in approved and secure containers until you can properly dispose of it. This way, not only are you protecting yourself from harmful fumes, but you’re also preventing accidents that could lead to injury or damage to the environment. 

By following the steps mentioned in this article, you can be sure to keep yourself and those around you safe while disposing of kerosene. Now that you know what to do with your used kerosene, it’s time to enjoy all its benefits safely!

My name is Thomas Anderson, and I have worked briefly as a plumber. Even though I am currently working on a different career path I still help out my friends and family with their plumbing issues. This is a hobby blog where I share my knowledge with the audience through random articles. Through this blog, I hope to address some common questions about garbage disposals.