Today, recycling glass, metals, and paper is pretty common. People generally understand how to do it and where to drop off materials. Recycling oil however is still confusing and less known. Even though recycling agencies and regulators have a system in place with businesses for how to dispose of oil.
The communication is lacking to the DIY mechanic that work on vehicles in their garage. These DIY mechanics create large quantities of used petroleum that needs to be recycled.
Worst of all, these individuals are not familiar with the need for recycling used oil and are unknowingly hurting the environment. Emptying used oil in storm drains, or throwing away products in their home garbage.
Why is this so important? Because, one million gallons of water can be contaminated with only one gallon of used oil.
Recycling used motor oil will help keep it out of lakes, streams, rivers, and our groundwater. Which also means keeping our drinking water clean and safe. Along with wildlife.
Please don’t take our clean water for granted and help dispose of oil properly.
How to dispose of oil
Properly change the oil. If you change your own oil from your boat, car, truck, lawnmower, or recreation vehicle first check your vehicles owners manual. This will tell you the proper steps in changing the oil.
Locate a recycling center close to you. There are lots of repair facilities, quick lubes, and service stations (Autozone) that will take used oil and filters. The easiest way we have found so far is to checkout the website Earth911.org to find a collection center near you. Search by zip code and also by the item that you need to recycle. You can also search for collection center for aluminum, batteries, and electronics.
Once properly disposed of the oil will go to a used oil re-finery. Where they will most likely turn the used oil into lubricating oil. Using a process that cleans the oil into high quality oil similar to a virgin oil.
Some oil may also be sent to power plants to be burned for energy in industrial boilers.
Recycling used oil is a win-win for everyone and everything involved. Helping to keep our water clean, environment and wildlife safe, increasing oil supplies, and generating heat.
Frequently Asked Questions
EPA – Managing used oil webpage
Ohio EPA – Used Oil Management – PDF
How oil harms plants and animals – NOAA