four children cleaning up trash
four children cleaning up trash

Other Waste Disposal

Pet Waste

Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and negatively impact the marine environment. Waste eventually enters the waterways through runoff and can contaminate the water and shellfish beds and encourage weed and algae growth. Make sure you pick up all pet waste and dispose of it properly – in a trash can or dumpster. Some marinas have pet waste stations but make sure you always have baggies handy, just in case.


Disposing of used oil can be a messy problem. Used oil is considered a hazardous waste and if not handled properly it can contaminate soil and waterways resulting in environmental damage and costly clean-up. Luckily, it can be easily and safely recycled. In fact, recycling and rerefining used oil uses between 50 to 85 percent less energy than refining virgin crude oil. Check with your marina to see if they offer collection of used oil for recycling. If they do, be sure to follow their guidelines for handling the used oil. If your marina does not offer a used oil collection service, check with your local automobile repair shop or look on for a collection site near you.

Used Oil Filters

Oil filters are recyclable because they're made of steel, North America's number one recycled material. They can be recycled into new steel products, such as cans, cars, appliances and construction materials. Recycling all the filters sold annually in the United States would result in the recovery enough steel to make 160,000 new cars! For used oil filter recycling locations see

Shrink Wrap

Shrink wrap is a low-density polyethylene cocoon used to protect boats during the winter. Shrink wrap is not biodegradable, and can become a disposal problem at landfills. Many marinas have started offering bulk shrink wrap recycling programs. If your marina does not offer shrink wrap recycling on site, there are companies that for a nominal fee will send you a postage paid bag that can be filled with shrink warp and returned to the company for recycling. For more information see Dr. Shrink.


To date, flares cannot be recycled but special care should be taken with their disposal. Throwing flares in your household trash can cause a dangerous situation and setting off old flares can result in false distress reports. To dispose of expired flares contact your local county public works department, police or fire department. Alternatively check with a local boating education group. They often use old flares for educational purposes.

Lead-Acid Batteries

Batteries contain lead and sulfuric acid which are both toxic to the marine environment. Most states have battery recycling laws which has prompted most battery dealers to ask for your old battery upon the purchase of a new one. When a spent battery is collected, it is sent to a permitted recycler where, under strict environmental regulations, the lead and plastic are reclaimed and sent to a new battery manufacturer. As a result of these programs the typical new lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic. For more information on where to recycle batteries see


While marine-rated propylene glycol antifreeze is less toxic than "regular" automobile-use ethylene glycol antifreeze, both products need to be handled carefully and disposed of properly. Used antifreeze often contains other substances including heavy metals that can be harmful to human and aquatic health. Antifreeze can be filtered and reconditioned for reuse by licensed professionals. For more information on where to find an antifreeze recycling location near you, see

Hazardous Waste

  • Read labels! If the label includes strong warning statements about personal health, the product can also have significant environmental implications if improperly disposed (as well as significant personal health implications if improperly used).
  • Before you buy a new product with strong warning labels ask yourself if you really need to use a product that strong.
  • Buy only the amount you'll need or share with a friend.
  • Follow directions for use and safely store where the product container can't capsize!
  • Try alternative products or methods of cleaning.
  • Schedule major maintenance work on land away from the water's edge (maybe during winter storage?).
  • Find your local "Household Hazardous Waste" collection days where you can safely dispose of these products. Check with your local public works department or check out to find possibilities in your town.

Local recycling and proper disposal options vary widely depending on where you live so always check with local authorities on how to properly dispose of these items.