Americans that change their own motor oil purchase at least 640 million gallons of motor oil a year. When you think about all the services that change your oil for you and the different types of vehicles that require oil changes, the amount of motor oil used yearly becomes staggering. From protecting the environment to promoting a healthy economy, there are several reasons you should recycle your motor oil. Read on to learn how to recycle your motor oil and what happens after you hand it off to be recycled.
Why Should You Recycle Motor Oil?
Unfortunately, about 200 million gallons of the used motor oil is dumped each year incorrectly. This can cause significant impacts on the environment and the economy. You can keep water sources and the animals that rely on those sources safe from harm by recycling oil. You can also save money! While it takes 42 gallons to create 2.5 quarts of virgin motor oil, it only takes one gallon of re-refined oil to make the same amount of product! If the wasted 200 million gallons were recycled each year, we could save up to 10 million dollars in crude oil expenses.
How Do I Recycle My Used Motor Oil?
There are four steps you will want to follow to ensure that you properly dispose of your used motor oil.
- Contain the oil: lay down a tarp underneath your work area to ensure you capture all the oil. Then position the proper container (a drip pan) on top of the tarp below your engine to catch the oil as it drains out.
- Empty the filter: don’t forget about your oil filter! Make sure to poke a hole into its dome and let it drain into the drip pan. Remember, the drip can is also recyclable once you drain it, so don’t just throw it out.
- Prepare oil for transportation: you’ll need to find a way to transport your oil safely. This means finding another container if your drip pan doesn’t come with the option to seal it closed. But don’t use any old containers. If you have the original container the oil came in, use that. Otherwise, you’ll want to find something made from polyethylene. You can’t use an old milk jug or something similar because you can’t risk mixing the used motor oil with other liquids. Once you combine it with other liquids, it’s no longer recyclable. You must use a container that has never stored any other liquids at any point in time.
- Storage: Once you find a container and seal it closed, place your used motor oil in a cool, dry place, where it won’t be disturbed before you have a chance to give it to a recycling facility.
To find a used motor oil recycling facility near you, follow this link here. You’ll want to look for an ABOP (antifreeze, batteries, oil, paint) collection facility because most household waste (HHW) facilities will not take oil and oil filters. You can also find a retailer that sells motor oil. They will typically accept used motor oil for recycling. Your state may also maintain a list of certified oil collection facilities for you to utilize.
How Is Used Motor Oil Recycled?
The term “oil recycling” is a broad label that refers to many different processes for re-purposing used oil. These include:
- Reconditioning on-site (prolongs the life of the oil)
- Inserting into a petroleum refinery
- Processing and burning for energy recovery (not favored because once you burn oil, it can never be recycled again)
- Re-refining into base stock for new lubricating oil (considered the gold standard for oil recycling because it prolongs the life of oil indefinitely)
Is Recycling My Used Oil Worth It?
Yes! Not only do you help keep the environment safe and help the economy, but you also save yourself from paying some hefty fines and possibly from facing jail time. Dumping oil incorrectly is illegal, and states go to considerable lengths to ensure that this resource is appropriately handled. While oil can do some amazing things for us, it can be a dangerous substance. That’s why you must take it upon yourself to properly dispose of your used oil.
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