Is DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) biodegradable? (5 reasons) 

This article covers some important aspects regarding DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) and answers the following questions:

  • What is DEF and for what purpose it is used?
  • Is DEF made from natural substances?
  • Is DEF biodegradable?
  • What are the environmental impacts of DEF?
  • How to properly use DEF?
  • How to properly store DEF?
  • How to properly dispose of DEF?
  • Is it a sustainable product?

Is DEF biodegradable?

Yes, it is completely biodegradable. As discussed earlier, DEF is made from urea and water, urea is a compound used by plants and is crucial for their growth and water is just plain old water. 

As both compounds are beneficial and required by microorganisms and plants, it makes the product readily biodegradable in nature with almost zero harmful effects.

Is it natural?

Yes, DEF is primarily just urea mixed with water, but the water is ionised so that it can carry urea as gas particles into the exhaust where it will bind with oxygen.

Both urea and water are naturally occurring substances. Urea is made naturally in mammal urine and ionised water is made by passing a current through normal water so it is safe to say that DEF is made from natural substances.

What are the environmental impacts of DEF?

There are no harmful environmental impacts of DEF reported as of yet. Instead, it is responsible for reducing loads of harmful impacts of diesel exhaust so it is actually very environmentally friendly and it would not be wrong to say that it is very important for the environment. 

The only concern remains of the fact that most of the urea produced today is produced synthetically because it is a prime contributor to the farming industry and it is currently in such high demand that natural sources of urea are insufficient to meet the needs of the industry. 

So it actually comes down to the manufacturers. DEF is produced by many different manufacturers and the fact that urea is an important part of it means that the sustainability of the product lies with the choice of acquiring urea from the right source so as to not harm the environment indirectly.

Because the synthetic production of urea is an energy-intensive process and it is responsible for the addition of harmful chemicals to the environment. Urea itself does no harm but it comes down to the sources from where it is obtained. 

How to properly dispose of DEF?

DEF should not be disposed of in waterways due to very specific reasons. Considering that DEF is non-toxic and unharmful for aquatic or terrestrial life, means that the reason lies somewhere else.

DEF should not be disposed of in waterways because urea in DEF can react with copper or brass pipelines of sewage systems and can cause leakages due to corrosion. 

Other than that, DEF is not harmful as it is a non-toxic, non-flammable, non-reactive, biodegradable substance that can be practically thrown anywhere and can even be put to use in your household. 

Still, the proper way to dispose of DEF is to discard it in landfill sites or even you can use it for your home soil as it does not cause harm to any form of life. 

Is it a sustainable product? (5 reasons) 

Yes, it is a sustainable and green product due to the following reasons:

  • Its ingredients are natural.
  • Its ingredients are renewable.
  • It has no harmful effects on any life form.
  • It is readily biodegradable.
  • Additionally, it is responsible for saving the environment from toxic air particles.

So, considering the facts mentioned above, it is safe to say that DEF is a green and sustainable product.


DEF is an excellent product which is environmentally very beneficial in almost every aspect and it is responsible for significantly reducing the harmful gases released by diesel engines. Countries should bring more regulations and enforce the usage of DEF as a safe way to reduce harmful emissions


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