Oil and Water don't mix
View a table of products in your home that are hazardous, and learn how to dispose of them.
Learn more about motor oil and antifreeze issues
Office of Environmental Assistance (MOEA) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are the 3 R's for environmentally aware consumers.
Recycle used oil
Used motor oil getting into a stream is almost as disgusting
as dogb**p (hotlink) and is really a lot worse for the health
of the organisms in the stream.
It's also pretty easy to dispose of it properly since every
gas station will accept it (FREE) as well as the Western Lake
Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD). It's a State Law.
Motor oil doesn't wear out very much but
it does get dirty. It might be re-refined and made into lubricating
oils that are as good as non-recycled motor oil. Or it may ultimately
be burned in special furnaces for heat, or used in power plants
to generate electricity for homes, schools and businesses.
Putting it in the trash or dumping it out on the ground is NOT
an option. You pollute Minnesota's groundwater, lakes and streams
that's no way to treat the "land of 10,000 lakes."
the problem ?
The oil can form a slick that looks bad, slimes the shoreline,
poisons amphibians, fish and the aquatic organisms they depend
on for food, and is unhealthy for you, other people and birds
and mammals that eat the fish and amphibians. Oil films on the
surface of water prevent oxygen from diffusing into the water
from the air, impair photosynthesis and block sunlight.
It's gross and it's poisonous !
As motor oil circulates through an engine, it picks up heavy
metals and other contaminants. Arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper,
zinc, chromium and some of the nastier organic compounds such
as benzene and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are just
some of the toxins found in used motor oil. These compounds
are all considered to be priority pollutants by the US Environmental
Protection Agency and only one gallon of used motor oil can
potentially cause significant contamination to a million gallons
of clean stream water, in addition to ruining its taste.
Dumping it onto the ground is not a good alternative either
since it can contaminate groundwater and may still end up in
a stream since this is the source of much of the water in our
streams during low flow periods- what we call "baseflow."
(don't forget that our streams all discharge into Lake Superior).
Even in a landfill it can eventually leak into the groundwater.
The best way to deal with used oil is to recycle it.
Where To Bring Used Oil
All places that sell motor oil in the State of Minnesota (including
Auto dealerships, gas stations and auto repair shops) must either
accept used motor oil or have a sign that tells you the nearest
place where you can take it.
For recycling locations
in your zipcode
area click here
You can also find disposal locations for oil and many other
recyclables by visiting the Earth's 911 web site to find. Fortunately,
motor oil is very recyclable - it doesn't wear out, although
it does get dirty. It can be re-refined and made into lubricating
oils that are as good as non-recycled motor oil. Or it might
be processed and burned for heat or to generate electricity
for homes, schools and businesses.
more information about oil recycling:
Office of Environmental Assistance
This Agency also has good information for businesses that
want to recycle materials or use re-cycled materials to
help the environement while cutting costs. There are also
links to many excellent educational resources
To Recycle Your Used Motor Oil...
1. Drain oil into a clean container with a tight fitting lid
(soda pop bottles and milk jugs are OK). Avoid plastic bottles
once used for bleach, cleaners or other automobile fluids,
such as antifreeze. Avoid paint cans and other metal containers
and containers used for gasoline.
2. Keep water out. Oil contaminated with water,
gasoline or hydraulic fluids can't be recycled and must be
disposed of in an expensive manner. Store the oil in a leak-proof
3. Your oil filters may also be recycled. Drain oil filters
prior to bringing them to a used oil collection facility.
Some other oil facts
pint of oil can produce a slick of approximately one acre
about 2.5 quarts of re-refined lubricating
oil can be produced from 1 gallon of used oil
re-refining is energy efficient -- less
energy is required to produce a gallon of re-refined base
stock than to produce base stock from crude oil
the U.S. States Postal Service and National
Park Service use re-refined oil in their vehicle fleets
over 450 million oil filters are purchased
annually in the U.S.
about 15 million oil filters were recycled
recycling 1 ton of drained oil filters produces
1,700 pounds of steel and recovers about 60 gallons of used
in the U. S., 42-60 % of drivers are do-it-yourself
oil changers. Each year, about 75% of the 14 billion gallons
of recoverable used motor oil generated by do-it-yourselfers
(DIYs) is disposed of improperly (API, 1996).
Americans throw away enough used motor oil
every year to fill 120 supertankers
One gallon of used oil provides the same
2.5 quarts of high quality lubricating oil as 42 gallons of
An estimated 200 million gallons of used
motor oil is improperly disposed of each year in the U.S.
by being dumped on the ground, tossed in the trash (ending
up in landfills), and poured down storm sewers and drains.
Recycling used oil would save the U.S. 1.3 million barrels
of oil per day - still a small fraction of what is improperly
disposed. The figure below shows that only 4% of used oil
was estimated to have been recycled in 1991.
Unfortunately, there is not yet a big enough
market for re-refined oil. This appears to be in part because
some oil companies are concerned that the public will not
accept the use re-refined oils in their blends, not because
of quality issues. However, most brands of re-refined oil
have received American Petroleum Institute (API) certification
and meet their stringent quality control standards.
should look for their Certification symbol which is an indicator
of quality. The American Petroleum Institute's (API) Engine
Oil Quality Marks- the API Service Symbol "Donut"
and Certification Mark "Starburst" help consumers
identify quality engine oils for their gasoline- and diesel-powered
2. American Petroleum
Institute and within it the detailed information about
Integrated Waste Management Board. Excellent source of
free graphics for business or community use