Everything You Need to Know About Recycling Motor Oil

Everything You Need to Know About Recycling Motor Oil

By on Aug 14 2017

In a world that is becoming more and more aware of the importance of recycling, we thought it was about time we talked about how you can and why you should recycle your motor oil.

Whether you own your own auto shop or change your car's oil at home, it's important to discard of the waste properly.

Why You Should Recycle Oil

Oil contains a lot of contaminants after it's used, and this can affect the environment in a negative way.

These impacts are nothing to sneeze at. For example, 250,000 gallons of water can be contaminated from just gallon of motor oil. So, why not recycle it and keep it out of and away from water and animals?

Used motor oil isn't dead, really. It can be used in other applications, such as fuel for industrial heaters. It can even be distilled into diesel or marine fuel or used for hydraulic oil.

Currently, around 1.3 billion gallons of used oil are generated every year in the United States. Only about 10% of that makes it to refineries for recycling.

Motor oil is also, well, not getting any cheaper these days. So, recycling doesn't hurt, to say the least. Any little bit one person does adds up over the years, so once you form the habit be sure to keep at it!

How to Recycle Oil Properly

To start, you can search on some websites to find out where to take oil to be recycled in your state. One example is, which allows you to enter your zip code and select the material you're looking to recycle.

Once you determine where you will be taking your used oil, you must drain it. Using a drain pan, allow gravity to do its work for 24 hours. This will separate water and any other heavy metals and impurities that have formed in the oil during its use, caused by the engine's high temperatures.

Then, pour the used oil into a container with a tight-fitting lid and seal the filter in a plastic bag or sealed container. Be careful to properly clean up any spilled oil that may have occurred with specially designed absorbent products.

Take your used oil to the drop off center and let them do the work from there! It just takes a few steps to properly recycle your used motor oil.

Bonus: some companies may even pay for your used oil, then take care of the recycling.

How it's Done

The reason for changing your oil is because it gets contaminated over time as a result of the heat your engine endures. This heat adds heavy metals to the oil, and water begins to mix in, which makes for a less pure product.

But refineries can take that used and contaminated product, remove the oil and impurities, and give the oil new life!

Refineries refine used oil for, as we've said before, a number of uses. The refining process first removes the water from the oil usually through vacuum distillation. Then, all other contaminants are removed, usually by the process of wiped-film evaporation.

But that's not the end of it. A process called hydrotreating infuses hydrogen back into the oil for the final product of once again usable motor oil.

Feel good about being proactive in recycling your oil. By taking the time and the extra step, you're helping a great deal in helping to protect our planet.

Or, if you're feeling fancy, you can make art! I'm slightly kidding but check out our post on motor oil art!

Also, make sure you're storing your oil properly!


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