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Old 01-09-2004, 07:28 AM
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Disposing of old gasoline

My sister and I have been cleaning out my grandparents' basement lately and we've come across several containers of old gasoline for various yardworking tools (lawnmowers, weedeaters, etc).

What is a safe way to dispose of the gas contained in the containers?
Old 01-09-2004, 07:40 AM
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Mow the lawn and trim the edges.
Old 01-09-2004, 08:22 AM
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Pragmatically, I would not put the gas the gas to use; it's quite old and could be watered down.

Emotionally, I'm so pissed off at my grandparents for hoarding tons of crap and never throwing anything out, then just up and moving and leaving my sister and I to pick up their mess that the idea of doing even more work for them above cleaning out their trash is repugnant; but that's not germane to this discussion.
Old 01-09-2004, 08:37 AM
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I'm sure the more environmentally conscious will not like my answer, but...

Open the containers and place them outside, well away from the house, etc.
Possibly cover them loosely to keep rain water out.
Gasoline evaporates fairly quickly and you should find the containers empty in a short time.
Old 01-09-2004, 08:39 AM
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OK. Two things you could try:

1) Ask the neighbours if they want it.

2) Contact the city, and ask about household hazardous waste collection.
Old 01-09-2004, 08:43 AM
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I think this will work: pour the gas into a wide, flat container and let it evaporate. A nice sunny summer day would help, too
But think of safety requirements--dont leave it unsupervised, (or kids with matches....)etc

Pouring it down the drain makes you feel like you are a dangerous polluter.Evaporation may cause air pollution, but it's invisible, so you can ignore it with an semi-cleaner conscience.
Old 01-09-2004, 09:05 AM
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Many communities have a recycling/processing center for solvents, nasty chemicals, old gasoline.

If your community does not have a such a center, then I believe it is more environmentally friendly to burn it than let it evaporate.
Old 01-09-2004, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Crafter_Man
Many communities have a recycling/processing center for solvents, nasty chemicals, old gasoline.

If your community does not have a such a center, then I believe it is more environmentally friendly to burn it than let it evaporate.
No, I called the recycling center and asked. The recommended way of disposing of gas that can't go to the center is to let it evaporate. This is less harmful that the incomplete combustion that results from burning it, and is MUCH safer.
Old 01-09-2004, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gcarroll
No, I called the recycling center and asked. The recommended way of disposing of gas that can't go to the center is to let it evaporate. This is less harmful that the incomplete combustion that results from burning it, and is MUCH safer.
Im not a chemist, but my gut feeling is that burning the gasoline would be more environmentally friendly than letting it evaporate into the atmosphere.

This has been discussed before in the threads below. Perhaps Sailor or Una could chime in again:

http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...threadid=70306

http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...threadid=70095
Old 01-09-2004, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fredge
I would not put the gas the gas to use; it's quite old and could be watered down.
Water in gasoline is easy to detect, and to remove.

Put the gas into a clear container. Water is substantially more dense, so it forms a visible different layer at the bottom. Syphon either the gas from above or the water from below. Alternately, use a chamois as a strainer (will also catch small impurities). To be very thorough, do both steps.

I'm not sure I'd use old gas like this in a late-model car, but it should work in not-very-sensitive equipment (older cars, lawnmowers, tractors, etc.). Mix it with twice as much new gas and experiment with a small quantity if in doubt.
Old 01-09-2004, 11:26 PM
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Thanks for the tips everyone. I'll keep them in mind when we finally get to the point of needing to dispose of the gas; there's still a good bit more cleaning of other junk to take care of but I wanted to go ahead and get some ideas.
Old 01-10-2004, 01:02 AM
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I'd guess that you probably have less than 2-3 gallons on hand of this old gas. Assuming it's not several years old....

Here's what I'd do:

1. Get some of that dry-gas stuff that binds up any water in the gas and keeps it from freezing up/messing up your fuel system.

2. Dump the old gas in your car's gas tank.

3. Dump in the dry-gas stuff.

4. Fill up the rest of your gas tank with good gas.

I figure that 20% of old gas won't make any big difference- most people suggest burning 2 cycle gas with the associated oil in car engines so long as it's diluted well, so I can't imagine that straight gasoline would be any different, especially if there's no water in the bottom.
Old 01-10-2004, 08:15 AM
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Do not put it into an auto or mix with fresh gas that may be used in a car in an emergency; if it contains lead it could damage the catalytic converter. As Xema said, use it up in your lawn care tools.
Old 01-10-2004, 09:34 AM
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A lot of weedeaters and such use a mixture of oil and gasoline. You probably wouldn't want to dump and old can of this stuff into your car's tank.
Old 01-10-2004, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gcarroll
No, I called the recycling center and asked. The recommended way of disposing of gas that can't go to the center is to let it evaporate. This is less harmful that the incomplete combustion that results from burning it, and is MUCH safer.
It sounds weird, but that's the policy of most landfills nationwide.

Landfills also tell folks who want to get rid of latex paint: Open the can and let the most volatile compounds evaporate. When the paint hardens, through the can in the trash, which is then dumped in a landfill.

Apparently, the Powers That Be have decided, regarding latex paint (which is classified as toxic waster, believe it or not), that it's better to pollute the air than the ground.

Imagine this policy carried out nationwide and you've got a lot of VOC's wafting into the atmosphere.
Old 01-10-2004, 09:52 AM
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Find somebody who would not mind running it in their mower?
Old 01-10-2004, 10:58 AM
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Letting it evaporate?!? That sounds absolutely fucking crazy. Gas stations and cars are fitted with all sorts of expensive devices to prevent gas from evaporating into the atmosphere and you're supposed to do it on purpose? It makes NO sense to me.

My course of action would be:

(a) If it is clean mix it with new gas and use it. I have used fuel years old. The only problem is that with gasoline the more volatile componets tend to evaporate and you have a harder time starting but if you dilute say 1:2 and use it I would not expect any problems.

(b) Recycling. Boat yards and car repair places should take it.

(c) If it is contaminated with dirt or water or anything else I would burn it in a stove or other adequate burning device. make sure you know what you are doing and don't start an uncontrolled fire.

(d) Burn it in the open air, carefully and in small amouts. Use to start your BBQ.

*Never* dump it in sewers or the soil. It is a Federal Offense and is is highly contaminating. I would say letting it evaporate is just as bad if not worse.
Old 01-10-2004, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by sailor
Letting it evaporate?!? That sounds absolutely fucking crazy.
*Never* dump it in sewers or the soil. It is a Federal Offense and is is highly contaminating. I would say letting it evaporate is just as bad if not worse.
And yet that's the official policy re: the disposal of enormous quantities of latex and oil-based paints and stains, solvents, and other VOC-laden products. When I pressed an "expert" on the matter, she said I could add a catalyst to old paint, to dry it out, but added: "Not many people bother. Just keep the lid off, let the solvents evaporate, and toss the rest into the trash can."

Voila! Feel-good environmentalism.
Old 01-10-2004, 10:52 PM
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"(c) If it is contaminated with dirt or water or anything else I would burn it in a stove or other adequate burning device. make sure you know what you are doing and don't start an uncontrolled fire.

(d) Burn it in the open air, carefully and in small amouts. Use to start your BBQ.

*Never* dump it in sewers or the soil. It is a Federal Offense and is is highly contaminating. I would say letting it evaporate is just as bad if not worse."

MUCH worse than the contamination from 5 gallons of gas is burning yourself or others to death. NEVER use gasoline to start a BBQ. NEVER try to burn it in a stove that was not designed to use gasoline. Stoves that are designed for kerosine or similarl fuels can kill or maim you in a heartbeat with gasoline.
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