Motor oil is essential for the smooth running of our vehicles as well as the oil filters. However, the oil tends to get contaminated with different impurities during its regular use, including dirt, chemicals, or metal scrapings. When these impurities mix with the oil, our vehicles usually fail to perform in optimal conditions.
As a result, we must change the oil and replace it with refined or virgin oil for our vehicles to run optimally again. Instead of disposing of the used motor oil and oil filters, we can recycle and refine them again for various other purposes.
Motor Oil Recycling
Recycling used motor oil is a requirement by law in many states and countries. This is mainly because of the health hazards and environmental risks it poses to human life and animals. For instance, if the oil finds its way into a water supply system, it will pose a significant danger to people and animals who depend on the water.
Besides, removing the oil from the water will take time, and it is complicated and costly. Research shows that oil from a single oil change can contaminate up to a million gallons of water. This shows how used motor oil can be hazardous if not disposed of properly.
Why Must we Recycle Used Motor Oil and Oil Filters?
Used motor oil is better off recycled and reused instead of disposing of because recycling comes with many environmental benefits. The recycled oil can easily be re-refined into virgin oil, utilized as raw material in the petroleum industry, or even manufactured fuel oils.
Since oil can cause environmental pollution, it should be appropriately managed by waste management companies or service shops to avoid this. Even used oil filters are considered garbage that should also be drained and recycled or disposed of properly.
The following are some of the reasons why we must recycle used motor oil:
- Recycling helps in preventing the pollution of soil and water.
- Recycling helps in saving a valuable resource since it only gets dirty but does not wear out.
- It helps save energy as little energy is used to recycle used oil compared to the amount of energy used to refine a base stock of crude oil.
- A single gallon of recycled motor oil produces lubricating oil equivalent to 2.5 quarts, like what 42 gallons of crude oil produces.
- Oil filters are mainly made of steel, a material that is commonly and easily recycled worldwide.
Steps to Follow When Recycling Used Motor Oil and Oil Filters
Disposing your oil and filters in garbage bins and giving them to garbage removal companies is illegal in most countries. This is mainly due to the environmental concerns they pose.
In addition, people are not allowed to burn used oil or dispose of it into drains. Recycling and reusing remain the only viable option for used motor oil and oil filters. The following are some of the steps that can guide you in recycling motor oil and filters.
1. Drain the Used Motor Oil Into a Hollow Container or Drain Pan
Before you start changing your car’s oil, you should prepare a drain pan or container where the oil will flow from the vehicle. An aluminum pan is preferred since it is easily disposable. You can as well use any other hollow and wide container.
2. Use Absorbent Material to Clean Any Oil That May Spill Over During the Process
There are chances that some oil will spill over during the oil change, and therefore it should be cleaned to avoid any pollution. An absorbent material such as cat litter and sawdust can be used in the clean-up. You need to spread this material on the oil that has spilt over and let it soak. After that, you should put this material inside a leak-proof bag and take it for recycling.
3. Fill a Plastic Container with the Used Oil From the Drain Pan
Find a clean plastic container that can be sealed tightly and pour the used oil into it. When pouring the oil into the container, you should use a funnel to reduce any spillage that may occur.
Remember to keep away any other waste materials from this oil as it will contaminate the oil, preventing it from being recycled. Instead, the contaminated oil will be regarded as hazardous waste material.
4. Put the Used Oil Filter Into a Plastic Bag and Seal It
After removing the old oil filter from your vehicle, you should store it carefully in a tightly sealed bag that is leak-proof. Large bags with zips are usually recommended for this.
5. Store the Used Motor Oil and Filter in a Secure Place
When you take used oil and filter for recycling, ensure that they are stored correctly and in a secure place. It would be best if you kept them in a cool place that covers them from direct sunlight.
Additionally, it would help if you labelled the plastic bags and container with the used oil and filter as waste to avoid any accidents or misplacement. Remember to deliver them to a nearby recycling center soon enough to avoid piling them in your home.
6. Search for an Oil Recycling Center Around
The recycling process will be a success once you locate a center in your area. You can check out the service stations around and find the one that can help you recycle the used oil and filter.
You can also check at the local government if they run any recycling programs for this kind of waste. When taking the oil and filter for recycling, always remember to store it in the trunk of your vehicle.
Where to Take Used Oil and Filters?
Once you have changed your vehicle oil and filter and packaged it well, you need not worry about where to take it.
Many spare parts stores, service stations, and government recycling programs accept used motor oil and oil filters for recycling. You should give a call to the potential recycling centers in advance to confirm if they accept used oil and filters.
Some of the recycling centers will even offer to collect the waste themselves from your place or give you a drop-off point for motor oil and filters near you for convenience. You can even earn some by taking your used oil and filters to a collection facility in some countries or states. Recycling motor oil and filters is an essential process in saving this valuable resource in the world.
Furthermore, recycling is better off than disposing of this kind of a waste to the environment. Both human and animal lives are saved from environmental pollution and other health risks that motor oil may bring to the environment if disposed of inappropriately.