What Type of Car Antifreeze is the Most Environment Friendly?

Middle School Environmental Science Science Fair Project
Photo © 2009 Anthony Easton, Flickr

What type of car antifreeze is the most environment friendly? Emily, a Washington state seventh grader, set out to find the answer! Here's an overview of her project, perfect for students interested in chemistry - specifically environmental pollution!


Due to its chemical components (specifically the ethylene glycol), conventional antifreeze, if disposed of improperly, can harm plants, animals, and even humans. Under Federal regulations, antifreeze is not a listed hazardous waste, but careless treatment of the product (i.e. disposal in storm sewers, septic systems, water ways, or even on the ground), can often result in hazardous conditions and effects. The good thing is, antifreeze can (and should!) be recycled.

Project Overview

Emily predicted that it would be this recycled antifreeze that would be the least harmful to the environment. For the experiment, she gathered several types to observe their effect on controlled patches of grass. The dependent variable to be observed for comparison was grass growth/height.

For a description of the experiment design, procedures used, actual results, conclusions, and a sample research report, be sure to visit Emily's project site on Selah School District's science fair project page!

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