What Are Some Methods for the Proper Disposal of Used Motor Oil?


Quick Answer

Used motor oil can be recycled through reconditioning, reprocessing and re-refining. Consumers can dispose of used motor oil properly by taking it to an oil recycling center or to a business that regularly handles motor oil, such as a service station or an auto repair shop. Consumers need to make sure the location accepts oil for recycling before delivering used motor oil.

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Full Answer

Because motor oil never breaks down (it just gets dirty and needs to be cleaned), recycling used motor oil helps to conserve petroleum. Used motor oil should never be disposed of by combining it with other chemicals, placing it with household trash, pouring it on the ground or washing it down a drain. Disposing of used motor oil in the sewer system or on the ground can contaminate soil and water supplies. Consumers who cannot find a local business that accepts used motor oil for recycling can contact their local Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program to obtain a list of motor oil recycling centers.

Recycled motor oil can be cleaned to extend its usefulness, re-refined to serve as base stock for new motor oil or reprocessed to be burned as fuel. When used motor oil is reprocessed, this removes the water from the oil, allowing it to be used as burn fuel to generate electricity and heat.

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