Disposing of MEK

We’ve got a can of Methyl-ethyl ketone that we use in our Aqua
torch. Husband noticed last night that the inside of the can has
rusted somehow, and the MEK is floating on a layer of what appears to
be rusty water (can was stored in the garage for 18 months, it
probably got condensation inside). We’ve chosen not to contaminate
the aqua torch with this stuff. The question is, how do we safely
dispose of nearly half a gallon of MEK? There are no disposal
instructions on the can.

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry

See if your city holds any “hazmat disposal” days. In some cities
you can take small amounts of Hazmats like old pesticides and
chemicals to a named location-No charge and no questions. Los Angeles
does this annually.

Daniel Ballard

First, most landfills will accept household hazardous waste at no
charge. If you are a business, you may be considered an exempt
small quantity generator. This would allow you to dispose of certain
low toxicity waste as if it were household waste. I believe, but
have not verified that MEK would fall into the small quantity
generator category.

You can think of MEK as an oxygenated butane. When it burns, it
does no more damage to the environment than burning butane…release
of carbon dioxide. As with gasoline, any signifiant quantity mixed
with air is explosive. I have sucessfully burned waste gasoline in
a tin can partially buried in the ground. The reason for partially
burying it was to keep the metal from getting too hot and vaporizing
too much gasoline at a time. I didn’t want a gasoline explosion.

If you merely place it outside and let it evaporate into the air,
ultraviolet light will eventually break it down. However, the
reactions of hydrocarbons with ultraviolet contribute to
photochemical smog. If you live in a state or smaller area with
smog problems, there may be laws or regulations against disposing of
waste hydrocarbons by evaporation. The fumes are heavier than air
and will tend to collect in low places indoors. Evaporation
presents a fire hazard so should not be done indoors or exposed to
accidental ignition outdoors.

I need to add that this e-mail is not intended to provide complete
about safety or regulations about disposing of MEK. It
is not intended to provide any recommendations whatsoever. It is
merely intended to provide a few ideas to think over.

Howard Woods
In the beautiful foothills near Eagle Idaho

The question is, how do we safely dispose of nearly half a gallon
of MEK? 

Contact your local garbage services authorities for the proper
procedures for disposing of hazardous waste. MEK isn’t something you
should just dump down the drain.



There is probably a hazardous waste lab located in your town or
county. Take it to them and they will dispose of it.

Ken Kotoski
MPG Repair

It won’t be long until your container is rusted through and your MEK
will start leaking out - that’s a very ugly situation.

Don’t take shortcuts when disposing of organic chemicals. Here’s the
advice from the MSDS:


Here’s the full link to the MSDS:

Matt Feliksa
Golden Sun MFG., Inc.
www.goldensunmfg.com “Specializing in platinum casting to the trade.”