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Recycling Your Used Motor Oil

Published Jan 6th 2010, 7:00pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Are you a wannabe do-it-yourselfer who has been afraid to try to ? While this task can seem daunting, if done carefully, it doesn't have to be messy or complicated.

This is the third of three simple and eco-friendly steps, so be sure to read the entire series:   (Wednesday, December 30);   (Tuesday, January 5), and (Wednesday, January 6).


 After draining the oil from your car's crankcase, pour the oil into a clean, leakproof container with a screw-on top.  Many household containers are suitable, including the original motor oil containers. However, never re-use containers that held household chemicals such as bleach.  Make sure that the container has a secure lid so it cannot spill.  Containers specifically designed for also may be purchased at automotive supply stores.
If you don't take your used oil to a recycling center immediately, never temporarily store it in any container that once held food, beverages or chemicals.  Regardless of the type of container used for carrying or storing oil, be sure it is clean, clearly labeled "Used Oil," and kept out of the reach of children and pets.

Take the container to the nearest used oil collection center.  If your community doesn't have a collection center, check with your local service station or an automobile maintenance facility such as a lube center, repair shop or car dealership. Also look for the nearest "oil drop."  This is a petroleum industry symbol indicating that used oil is collected for recycling/reuse. You can also using your zipcode. 

Please don't be tempted to dump your oil into the gutter or trashcans: approximately 220 million gallons of used oil are improperly disposed of each year -- and just ONE gallon of used oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of drinking water!

All information contained above has been sourced from:

* South Carolina DHEA Office of Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling: Used Motor Oil Recycling Pamphlet (1/08)
* U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Collecting Used Oil for Recycling/Reuse - Tips for Consumers Who Change Their Own Motor Oil and Filters
* U.S. Department of Energy:  Used Oil Re-refining Study to Address Energy Policy Act of 2005, Section 1838

We've broken the process down into three simple and eco-friendly steps, so be sure to read the first two:   (Wednesday, December 30) and   (Tuesday, January 5).

Jody DeVere
President and CEO

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